Depending on the car that you have, its dashboard could be made from either plastic, covered in vinyl, or molded from polyurethane. If your car is at a certain segment or price point, chances are manufacturers will dress it up a little bit to give a more premium finish through the use of soft-touch materials.
If your dashboard is made from anything other than hard plastic, you might want to consider parking in a shaded area because melted and deformed dashboards are often caused by extreme swings in temperature.
What causes melting and deformation?
As stated, heat is the primary culprit of dashboard melting. Apart from that, environments with high humidity can also cause the materials in your dashboard to become brittle and crack over time. Your dashboard could also come out smelling pretty bad given consistent exposure to humidity. In short, a combination of heat and humidity will eventually ruin your car’s dashboard.
Usually, cars that are parked outside and exposed to the elements often find themselves with cracked or damaged dashboards. On top of that, the materials in older cars might not be as robust as modern vehicles, but the age of your car is also a factor when dashboards crack and get damaged.
If my dashboard deteriorates, is it a big deal?
In terms of just driving around, a dirty and damaged dashboard shouldn’t affect your car’s mechanical components unless the damage is so great that buttons and panels start falling off.
On top of that, most dashboards get shiny and sticky when they deteriorate plus they can even emit a foul smell that could distract you while you’re driving and result in an unpleasant ride for your passengers.
Also, being shiny, when light hits the dashboard’s surface it could reflect on your eyes and cause a bit of glare, this is the reason why most car dashboards are finished in a matte non-reflective type of material instead of glossy surfaces.
How to prevent a car’s dashboard from getting damaged
The first and foremost step to take in order to keep your dashboard from melting or cracking is to make sure you park in a shaded area. While parking out in an open lot for a time is not abuse, leaving and storing your car without a cover for days or even weeks at a time under the heat of the sun and the wet of the rain can cause the deterioration process to run its course faster. It’s highly recommended that you keep your car parked in a garage and away from the sun especially if it is old.
You can buy either a car cover or a shade in order to keep the sun’s rays from entering the cabin while it’s parked. Either of these two products will do wonders for your interior and it will also reject heat so you can get into the car without much discomfort.
Maintenance also plays a big factor in the longevity of your dashboard. Stickiness can also come about due to oils, residue, debris, and other chemical contaminants that can seep into the material of your dashboard. Don’t forget to give some TLC to your dashboard while conducting an interior clean. Don’t use harsh chemicals and instead use specially formulated products to ensure that you’re not chemically destroying your dashboard while washing. As such, here’s a list of things that you need:
- Microfiber Cloth
- Warm Water
- Mild soap
- Soft toothbrush
- Vinyl or upholstery cleaner
With these items, you want to make sure that you take off all of the surface debris from the dashboard with the cloth. Following that, spray some water and soap on top and repeat the wiping process again. You can substitute warm water and soap with vinyl or upholstery cleaner if the dirt’s acting stubborn. Then for even more stubborn stains, grab a soft-bristle toothbrush and start scrubbing. Following that, you want to dry your dashboard with a dry microfiber cloth and make sure that there’s no water or leftover product from the cleaning session.
What are the ways to protect my dashboard?
There are a few solutions that you can try in order to protect your dashboard from damage. The first is to use a dashboard cover that is essentially like a floor mat. These products usually come pre-cut for your specific model and are there to primarily prevent scratches on the surface that it covers and to give a little more heat protection. If you don’t like the look, consider getting your interior coated with either ceramic or graphene. The car detailing industry often finds itself relying on these products to provide protection against scratches and heat and is often a go-to solution for many shops simply because it is an invisible layer of protection.