Easy Repair For Cracked Dash Tops

Updated Mar 20, 2015

Dashtop overlay from Palco Industries makes broken, faded pickup dashes look like new

by Bruce W. Smith/HWT Senior Editor

When you hear someone say, “Beauty is only skin deep,” take it to heart and be grateful Palco Industries knows how to take the ugly out of pickup interiors.

This glass-brittle and cracked dash top is on a 2002 Ram 1500 that we gave new life to with a Palco dash top overlay.  

Our older pickups don’t age well with time; faded, blotchy paint and cracked dashes are commonplace among decade-old work trucks.

That’s because ultraviolet rays and the plastics used in older truck’s dashes don’t get along.

Take the Dodge Ram pickups from the late ‘90s and  early 2000s, for example. The dashes in these pickups always seem to be cracked and faded.

Palco Industries’ Dashtop, cleaning supplies, a good scuff pad and a tube of silicone are all that’s needed to make a cracked dash look like new. Palco for the dash fix: a Dashtop (Dashtop.com; (800) 349-3274).

An easy cure: Replace the dash top.

Palco Industries’ one-piece dash overlay is made from the same molds as the factory, but in one piece instead of two.

So the fit is good and the durability of the one-piece plastic overlay better than what came on the truck.

Installation is easy: An hour’s labor, a few clean rags, bottle of ammonia-based window cleaner or denatured alcohol, a couple scuff pads or light sandpaper, some strong tape and a tube of silicone adhesive are all that’s needed.

In return you get a dash that looks like new and an increase in resale/trade-in value down the road.

We used Gorilla Tape to hold down separated pieces and sanded down the high spots of the factory dash so the new overlay would fit properly. Dry fit the new Dashtop to make sure it 1) is the correct color, and 2) that it fits the contours of the existing dash. Trim and sand edges as necessary to make the fit precise. Clean and lightly sand the underside of the new Dashtop overlay the same as you did with the stock dashtop. Getting rid of the release compound on the overlay ensures a good bond. We siliconed fine screen door mesh to the back of each Dashtop vent opening to keep any items on the dash from falling through the Ram’s broken/missing vent screens. After the Dashtop is ready for installation, lay down a ¼-inch bead of silicone around the entire perimeter, staying about a ½-inch away from the edges so it doesn’t ooze out when the overlay is set in place. Don’t put adhesive in the center of the overlay as it will not allow the top to expand/contract. Once the top is in place, use whatever you have handy to apply down-pressure on the top, sides and edges until the silicone sets up. We used Gorilla Tape, some hand weights and rolled-up towels. Cure time is about 12 hours. Just like new. Dashtop overlay makes the old Ram’s dash look like it did when it came off the dealer’s lot a decade earlier.