How to Prevent Your Dashboard From Cracking

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How to Prevent Your Dashboard From Cracking

Nothing degrades a car's interior more quickly than a cracked dashboard. Although often appearing as a barely noticeable hairline, it inevitably lengthens and widens if not addressed promptly. There are various ways to treat minor dashboard cracks, but the most effective treatment of all is prevention.

Never underestimate the sun's ability to ruin your dashboard and cheapen the look of your car. The sun's damaging UV rays dehydrates vinyl, leather and other upholstery, leaving it brittle and fragile. Seats, dashboard, steering column and mats all suffer from the onslaught of the sun, particularly between the spring and autumn equinoxes. Cars left out in the sun on hot summer days become a type of oven, as heat trapped inside the car builds up and intensifies the effect of the sun on the car's interior surfaces. In order to solve this problem, you need to take the preventative measures that involve the right type of protection to your car both internally and externally.

UV Radiation Reduction Methods

There are several different ways you can prevent your dashboard from cracking. It is easier to maintain the condition of your dashboard if you bought your car new, because unlike a second hand car, you have control over the dashboard from near the beginning of its life. There are both internal and external ways to maintain the condition of your dashboard and other interior features, but neither should be used exclusively. Always ensure that you practice one type of prevention in conjunction with the other.

External Protection

External protection of your car's dashboard and interior features are easy to apply and are sometimes permanent, such as window tinting. Garage parking is the most effective way to maintain a vehicle's overall condition as it protects it from a variety of weather conditions, but this is not always possible.

Sun Shields

A good way to prevent undue UV radiation from assaulting your dashboard is to apply a windscreen sun shield.. These devices can either be attached to the underside of the windscreen, or fixed to the outside of the windscreen by closing the front doors of your car on each end of the sun shield. This is a traditional method of keeping the sun's rays off the dash.

UV Protected Car Cover

A UV car cover is most ideal for when you leave your car standing in the sun all day. The UV protectant cover protects the body of the entire car, eliminating any overt risk to the dashboard. This is particularly valuable for those who live in places with on-street parking. Car covers also conceal the contents of the vehicle, making it less tempting to thieves. Another benefit of the UV protected car cover is that it also provides fade protection for the whole vehicle.

Window Tinting

Window tinting is an effective way of reducing the amount of UV that enters a car and the associated glare experienced by those in it. Although window tinting does slow down the process of interior degeneration, there are many limits to its legality in different places. In some jurisdictions, the windscreen may be tinted slightly, but in other places, the windscreen is sacrosanct. All of the car's windows, except this one (bar a narrow strip across the top), can be tinted. Nevertheless, having the front side windows tinted does protect the dashboard to a small degree. Of course, the darker the tint, the more effective for preventing UV damage, but the least effective for staying safe on the road.

Windows Down

When you leave a car parked in the sun, you should lower all windows approximately two centimetres from the top. Even on hot days, this allows a draft to circulate air around the inside of the car which moderates the air temperature and stops the oven effect. This is especially so when used in conjunction with a windscreen sun shield. Although this measure could pose a security risk in older cars with door latch locks, it should not be a problem for vehicles with electronic central locking.

Internal Protection

Most internal protection comes in a can. Many products are available on the market that essentially perform the same purpose. eBay is the ideal place to peruse the range of applications that can prolong the life of your dashboard. The type of protector you choose largely depends on what material your dashboard is made from, as not all protectors are suitable for all surfaces. For example, leather dashboards require a protector that is compatible with leather.

Preparing the Dashboard

The dashboard must be clean prior to applying protecting agents. Always cleanse first with a soft cloth, warm water and liquid detergent or a specifically formulated dashboard cleaner. Wipe excess moisture with a paper towel and allow to dry thoroughly, at least two hours, before applying dashboard protector solutions.

Applying Protectors

Apply protecting agents according to the their respective directions. Allow a couple of hours to penetrate before wiping off any remaining excess. If you have not applied protectant before, or it has been a long time since the last treatment, reapply another coat after a few hours, or the following day.

Dashboard Protecting and Restorative Applications

eBay lists various dashboard accessories to undertake cleaning, protecting and restoring work. There are several vinyl conditioners available that are highly effective, or you could use a high quality protector such as Armor All Protectant.. An application like this is most effective after first cleaning the area to be treated. Armor All Protectant includes built-in UV protection, thereby slowing the ageing process. Additionally, Armor All Protectant can be applied to all other vinyl, rubber or plastic surfaces. This product, or something similar, should be used regularly to maintain optimum condition.

Sunscreen

Sunscreen with high SPF ratings can be used additionally to purpose-specific protectants, especially if your product of choice does not contain UV protection. You should not use sunscreen as a sole protector, because despite its UV protection, it lacks important conditioning agents that are used to preserve vinyl.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Method

The following chart presents some of the pros and cons of each of the above precautions. It also reveals some of their inherent limitations.

Method

Advantages

Disadvantages

Dashboard conditioning formulas

Provides UV protection and prevents dehydration

Has to be reapplied periodically

Windscreen sun shields

Effective in keeping sun off dashboard and reducing inside temperature

Requires constant assembly and disassembly

UV protected car covers

Protects entire car from fade; improves security

Requires constant assembly and disassembly

Window tinting

Reduces UV rays and associated interior fading

Legal restrictions, visibility limitations

Window lowering

Circulates air flow

Compromises security in old cars

Most of these dashboard protective measures should be employed simultaneously for maximum benefit. The window tinting option is subject to restrictions in certain regions.

How to Prevent a Small Crack from Enlarging

If your dashboard is already severely damaged with gaping cracks, you should think about a new one. However, if your dashboard is vinyl and in good condition except for the beginnings of a tiny crack, there is an easy way to halt its progress.

A minor hairline crack can be stopped from getting worse by melting a small piece of vinyl at the very tip of the crack. Using a pin, heat up the head end with a small flame (but only moderately). Apply the pin head directly onto the very tip of the crack. The head melts a small circle to the diameter of the pin head at the point where the crack finishes. Brush off any residue after the vinyl has cooled. This does inflict some damage to the dashboard, but it is minor compared to what a neglected crack eventually becomes.

How to Buy Dashboard Preserving Accessories on eBay

If you know which products to purchase for your dashboard, enter the relevant keyword search criteria, such as "windscreen sun shield&", into the search bar found on every page of eBay's website.. Alternatively, you can peruse a variety of car maintenance products, where you may find something that you have hitherto not considered. Look through several listings to make some specified comparisons before settling on a purchase. Check all information provided by the seller, including terms of sale and the returns policy, and consider the options associated with postage and handling.

It is important that you feel confident in your seller before you make a purchase, so make a note of your designated seller's credentials. This simply involves checking their customer feedback score. If they have an eBay top rated seller certificate, you can be assured of their professionalism, but if they do not have one, do not take that as indicative of poor service. If you have questions about a particular item that is not covered in the listing, ask the seller to provide you with this information.

Conclusion

eBay is a good source of accessories for all your auto maintenance needs. There are many listed items pertaining to the cleaning, protecting and preserving aspects involved in keeping your car as close to new as possible. If you have a new car and wish to keep it looking that way, you are going to need several different types of maintenance care accessories, including carpet shampoos,, car vacuum cleaners,, and upholstery cleaners.. You can find all these items and more far more cheaply on eBay than at retail outlets.

Maintaining the condition of your dashboard is key to preserving that new look for your car. Always ensure you employ both external and internal methods of protecting your dashboard. This involves keeping your dashboard conditioned to prevent dehydration, reducing UV exposure and reducing heat build up. If you are vigilant in protecting your car like this, you can be assured of dashboard longevity.

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