Painting a Car Dashboard

  • 4-12 hours
  • Beginner
  • 50-100
What You'll Need
Painter's tape
Scouring pad
Old newspaper
Wire clothes hangers
Spray paint primer
Spray paint color
Spray paint clear coat

Cars can be customized in an almost infinite number of ways and painting a car dashboard is just one of them. It is also a good way to rejuvenate the appearance of an older car. This article will list the tools and the steps needed for such a customization.

Step 1 – Removing the Dash

Gather the necessary materials and consult with your car's repair manual for instructions on removing the dashboard. You do not want to paint the dash while it is installed in the car. Following the instructions in the manual, carefully remove the dashboard and place it on a work surface for disassembly.

Step 2 – Preparation

Disassemble the dashboard into its individual components. Set aside the pieces that you will not be painting. Take your time with the preparation of the pieces to be painted. Spending a few extra minutes at this step will result in a much more satisfying look and finish to your car dashboard.

Clean the remaining pieces with warm soapy water and allow them to dry. Next take the painters tape and mask off any parts of the dashboard that you do not want to paint.

Gently roughen the surface of the plastic pieces with the scouring pad. The rough surface will provide a surface for the paint primer to adhere to. Wipe the dashboard pieces clean of any residue from the scouring pad. You are now ready to paint your dashboard.

Step 3 – Painting the Dashboard

Before you start painting the dashboard ensure the place is well ventilated. Paint fumes can be highly toxic and cause respiratory ailments. Also, choose a paint color that matches or compliments the existing color of the interior and exterior of your car.

You can hang each piece using the wire clothes hangers or lay them on the newspaper. Using a smooth back and forth motion, apply the paint primer to the dashboard pieces. Let the primer thoroughly dry before applying a second coat, if necessary. When the primer is completely dry, apply your paint color in the same way you applied the primer. But be careful as you paint. Use the spray paint far away from your car to avoid any overspray hitting the car. Using slow, smooth sweeping motions with the spray paint will ensure the most even coat. Apply a second coat of paint if necessary and allow the paint to dry thoroughly.

Step 4 – Applying the Clear Coat

When the paint is completely dry, apply a layer of clear coat. Multiple layers of clear coat will provide a more glossy and durable finish. Be sure to let each layer thoroughly dry before applying another layer of clear coat.

Step 5 – Reassembly

Once all the parts are dry, remove the painters tape from the pieces that didn't get painted and reassemble the parts to the dashboard. Carefully install the dashboard back into the car and enjoy your newly customized car!