How to recover a vinyl dash

A well-maintained interior is important to all car enthusiasts. Old cars are loved, but no one wants them to look old. A cracked, faded dash is an eyesore in many classic cars. Many of the options for restoring these dashes are expensive, such as sending them out to be redone from scratch, or depend on luck (finding an original dash in good condition). Another alternative is to recover the existing dash with matching vinyl.

Remove the dash from the car and any trim that comes off with the dash.

Trim any loose pieces of vinyl or foam with the razor blade.

Scrub the dash with the dishwashing detergent and brush.

Rinse the dash thoroughly with clean water.

Place the dash in the sun to dry. It may take a day or two to completely dry. It must be absolutely dry to prevent mould.

Wipe down the dash with a clean rag. Use the razor to remove any newly loose pieces.

Fill any cracks in the dash with silicone. Thoroughly coat each crack. It is better to use too much than not enough.

Lay the vinyl good side down. Place the dash face down on the vinyl.

Trim the vinyl to fit the dash. Use masking tape to hold it in place.

Flip the dash over. Use the marker to trace openings in the dash that will be cut out later.

Remove the vinyl covering. Carefully cut out any needed openings.

Spray the dash with spray adhesive. Stretch the vinyl back over the dash. Use more spray adhesive around the back to firmly attach the new vinyl.

Push down firmly on the vinyl as it dries to prevent any bubbles from forming.

Wipe the dash down after it dries with a clean rag to remove any adhesive on the front of the dash.

Reinstall the dash.


When making cuts, leave more material than you think you'll need. It is easy to cut away a little excess material.

Things You'll Need

  • Vinyl (enough to completely cover the dash with several inches of coverage)
  • Razor blade
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Scrubbing brush
  • Clean cloths
  • Spray upholstery adhesive
  • Epoxy
  • Fabric Marker
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About the Author

Tracie Harris lives in Atlanta and has been writing lifestyle articles since 2008. W.W. Norton is publishing her work in "The Seagull Guide" due out in 2011. Her writing has also appeared in "The Historian" and The Good Cook. Harris is a former social studies teacher. She holds a B.A. in history and secondary education from Agnes Scott College.