The term dashboard was coined and in common usage as far back as the early 1600s--long before motor-powered automobiles even existed. The word was originally used to describe the barrier made of wood or of other material found at the front of a horse-drawn buggy. This board was used to protect occupants of the buggy or carriage from being dashed by dirt, rocks, ice and any other objects horses might kick up as they trotted over the ground.
As motorized vehicles we developed the term shifted to describe the barrier between the driver and the engine. In general, a vehicle's dashboard might be home to a basic instrument panel or one with state-of-the-art technology, such as a GPS system and multi-disc CD changer.
The terms dash kit or dash trim kit refer to aftermarket accessories that are meant to either replace or apply over the the dashboard inside an automobile in order to change the aesthetics or looks of the interior. As such dashboard trim kits can be simple or ornate and made from a variety of real and synthetic materials. Show cars and some race cars have customized dashboards made of sheet metal or aluminum and chrome dashboards are often seen in show cars. Many performance and race cars will use real carbon fiber dash components in order to reduce the weight of the vehicle and this has resulted in simulated carbon fiber dash kits (which cost much less to produce) becoming fashionable as well.
All precut dash kits are designed for the exact year, make and model of a vehicle and, in many cases, additional options such as navigation, transmission type and climate control style may be specified. There are two main types of mass produced dash trim kits on the market today aside from custom made real wood and carbon fiber kits. These are as follows:
- Domed polyurethane dash kits made be made from genuine wood or carbon fiber but often are simply vinyl dash kits which have been domed with an epoxy resin which gives them a three-dimensional appearance. These types of dash kits are often sold to dealerships and offered to buyers as a trim upgrade. They range in price from $100 to $500 dollars depending upon their size, material and the year make and model of the vehicle.
- Vinyl dash kits are self-adhesive vinyl appliques which come in a wide variety of colors and finishes. They are identical to domed polyurethane kits but are significantly less expensive ranging from $25 to $65 in price. One advantage of vinyl dash kits over traditional, polyurethane dash kits is that they may be removed without causing damage to the dash panels unlike three-dimensional kits.
What are Dash Kits?
A dash kit is an automotive accessory which is meant to accentuate the dashboard and other interior panels of a specific year, make and model. Dash kits, in any form, come ready to apply to various parts of the interior portions of your vehicle. Although not all pieces included may fit all vehicle sub-models most manufacturers make every attempt to provide dash kits either with multiple configurations included or as an option to purchase separately.
Can Dash Kits be removed?
The answer varies depending upon the type of dash kit installed. All polyurethane domed kits use a strong adhesive which is necessary to maintain the adhesion of the heavier, epoxy-coated trim pieces. As a a result, these kinds of dash trim kits cannot be removed without causing permanent damage to the vehicle's dash board.
Vinyl dash kits do not require such a strong adhesive so are considered to be semi-permanent in nature. These can be removed without causing damage and any residue can be cleaned with soap and water.
What is the difference between a Dash Wrap and a Dash Kit?
Dash wraps are simply sheets of uncut vinyl film available in the same variety of colors and finishes as are precut dash kits. Some enthusiasts may prefer to wrap their dash because it can provide coverage of areas not included in dash trim kits or in order to cover factory or dealer-installed dash kits.
What is the difference between a Flat and Molded Kit?
Molded dash kits are pre formed at the factory to fit the shape and contour of your dash. The pieces are completely three dimensional and mold around corners, sides, and edges to give a more OEM factory look. Flat dash kits are called "flat" because they arrive as flat pieces. They are flexible when warmed, and will curve to the shape of the dash, but in only one direction and are capable of doing only the front facing surface of the dash. Both kits are applied in the same way, with adhesive backing.
Which Type of Dash Kit Is Easier to Install?
Both types of kits are applied in generally the same way. Each type has a 3M adhesive backing, and adheres to the existing dash surface. Our Flat dash kit installations often require a little more time because of the greater number of pieces in the kit.
Can Dash Kits be removed and reapplied?
At the time of writing, there is no dash kit on the market that can be removed and reapplied as removal will stretch the vinyl and cause it to lose its shape and adhesiveness.
Do Dash Kits replace my original dashboard?
No. Dash kits are applied directly to your existing dash surface. No pieces are removed from your vehicle. As a result, dash kits should not be used to repair broken or cracked dashes.