Dash Kits

Written by Will Baum
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Dash kits transform the interior of your car the way a new paint job transforms the exterior. There's no point in spending hundreds of dollars buffing up your car's exterior without paying some attention to what's inside. After all, the inside of the car is what you see when you're driving. The dashboard is right there in front of you, mile after mile.

Cars arrive with factory dashes that often leave much to be desired. Gray plastic is a perplexingly popular dash in many late-model American cars. Sure, you can leave it as it is. But you're in your car an awful lot. Why not dress it up?

Customized Dash Kits

There are an amazing number of options available once you decide to soup up your dashboard. Dash kits come in a huge variety of materials and colors. Wood dashes are an especially popular favorite. Some luxury cars come with wood dashes as standard equipment. Just because your car didn't come that way doesn't mean it has to look any less glamorous inside.

You can order wood dashes that use any number of woods and stains. Synthetic wood dashes are a less expensive option that gets you a very similar look and feel. For a more modern look, there are carbon fiber dash kits. Carbon fiber kits come in nearly every color of the rainbow. Futuristic chromes and aluminum colors are a sporty alternative to both wood and bright colors. Some dash kits come with paintable components, allowing you to truly customize your dash. Your car's interior can be your personal canvas.

Consider ordering samples before making your final dash kit decision. There's nothing quite like holding a sample up to your existing dash to help you narrow down your choices. Though this might cost you a few dollars up front, it's well worth that minimal cost.

Installing Dash Kits

For people used to modifying their cars, installing dash kits is the easiest thing they'll ever do with their car. Dash kit installation is strictly do-it-yourself. All you need is a little glue and a little time. (For some molded kits with double-sided tape backing, you don't even need the glue.)

The first, crucial step to installing dash kits is to heat the car's interior. A temperature of 72° Fahrenheit is your goal--any colder and the adhesive won't work properly. As your car warms, start thoroughly cleaning the existing dash. This is no joke. You're not just expected to dust off the dash, you've got to dig in and give it some elbow grease. Use rubbing alcohol to remove all traces of any vinyl cleaner you might have used in the past. Glue and tape just don't like to stick to dirt.

Don't start sticking pieces on just yet. Hold up the components of your kit where they're meant to go. Everything should fit snugly, allowing flawless movement of every dial, knob, and vent. Once you've confirmed this functionality, you're ready to get sticking. Follow directions closely. You don't want trim that's meant for the left door lock to end up on the passenger side vent. This shouldn't be a problem. Dash kits are made to fit your make and model of car perfectly. Before you know it, your car will be transformed. You may never want to climb out.

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