What are Dashboard Covers?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Dashboard covers are automotive accessories which are custom designed to protect the plastic dashboard of a motor vehicle. There are a variety of reasons for purchasing a dashboard cover, but primarily drivers install dashboard covers to prevent damage to their dashboards. They come in a range of colors to match various interior decoration schemes, and are typically made from durable nylon carpet-like fiber.

Covers protect dashboards from the harm caused by sunlight.
Covers protect dashboards from the harm caused by sunlight.

Most cars have a dashboard made from plastic. As it is exposed to sunlight, the plastic will start to bleach and fade. The sunlight and UV rays also weaken the plastic, ultimately causing to to crack. In addition to looking unsightly and reducing the resale value of the car, this can also be dangerous. The hard plastic exterior of a dashboard is designed to sustain an impact from a head in a crash. When it cracks under the pressure, padded foam underneath helps to soften the blow. If the dashboard cracks from exposure, this foam will also start to be damaged by the elements, meaning that it may potentially fail in an accident.

A dashboard damaged by the sun or other elements may fail to protect passengers during a crash.
A dashboard damaged by the sun or other elements may fail to protect passengers during a crash.

Using dashboard covers also prevents dust from accumulating on the dashboard, as the cover can be taken off and shaken or vacuumed. In addition, objects placed on a dashboard cover will not slide when the car moves, meaning the drivers can store sunglasses and other useful things on their dashboard and know that they will be ready when needed. Dashboard covers can also help to reduce the glare inside a car, which can impair a driver's visibility.

Dashboard covers may be particularly useful for teen drivers, who may be more likely to be involved in accidents.
Dashboard covers may be particularly useful for teen drivers, who may be more likely to be involved in accidents.

Sizing and placement of dashboard covers is important. Improperly positioned dashboard covers can cover the vents designed to circulate air and defrost the windshield, which is not desirable. It is also important that a dashboard cover not hang over the edge, impairing the view of the car's speedometer, gas meter, and other vital gauges. Most companies manufacture dashboard covers for specific makes and models of vehicles to prevent this problem, and will customize a dashboard cover for a unique car.

When selecting a dashboard covers for specific vehicles, it is an excellent idea to note down the car's make, model, and year so that the right dashboard cover can be picked out. If possible, take the dashboard cover out to the car to ensure that the color does not clash with the upholstery in the car. Finally, consider installing heat resistant Velcro® tabs to hold the dashboard cover in place, so that it will not move around on the dashboard with time.

The dashboard is designed to absorb impact in a crash.
The dashboard is designed to absorb impact in a crash.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

anon58752

Is there any technology that can make a dashboard not get hot in broad daylight?

Perhaps a ceramic coating spray? or apply an adhesive heat resistant material?

Thanks.

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