How to Repair Dashboard Vinyl
There are many methods of repairing holes and cracks on a vinyl dashboard. Each repair technique is best suited to cracks of a certain size. For dashboard cracks less than 2", you can use epoxy or metal filler and paint. For larger cracks, or many cracks close together, a combination of filler and fiberglass will make the best repair. This vinyl repair method is ideal for very hot and dry environments.
(1) Small Cracks
Use an exacto knife to cut off any curled-up edges, or if the dash vinyl is especially brittle, use sand paper to file them down. Before you begin filling the cracks with epoxy, the edges of the crack must be level with the surface of the dashboard.
Next, use either a one- or two-part epoxy, cement, or metal filler to fill in the crack. To make the dashboard repair last longer, apply it in 2-3 layers, and let it cure thoroughly between applications. When the top layer is dry, sand it down.
Use vinyl paints to mix a color that matches your dashboard. You can test the paint on an inconspicuous area of the cracked dashboard to see if you've made the right color. When the first layer of paint has completely dried, you may add a second textured coat to match the vinyl texture. Sponges and rubber gloves can help you reproduce the texture of the vinyl dashboard.
(2) Large Cracks
Follow the directions above for filling a cracked dashboard. However, before painting over the epoxy, cover the damaged area with fiberglass and resin. When the resin has fully cured, fill in the cloth depressions with bondo. Once the bondo has dried, you can sand the area and apply the right color of vinyl paint to your dashboard repair.
Keep in mind that most DIY dashboard repairs are only temporary. Cracks will inevitably resurface if you frequently drive in a hot, dry climate. The best long-term solution is to replace the entire dash panel when the cracks become too numerous.
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