What do your passenger's feet, sunlight, and a cup of coffee all have in common? They can, and eventually will, all damage your car's dashboard. Over time, enough damaging sunlight will cause your dash to crack or fade. You may be balancing a drink or piece of food on top of it, hit a bump or make a turn, and that item could fall or spill all over it. The tread on the bottom of shoes can easily scratch or scuff your dash top. A diligent car owner can help prevent the signs of aging or wear by protecting it with products like Armor All or other sealants on a regular basis. But even the best maintenance procedures can't turn back time on an old and damaged dashboard. Sometimes it needs to be replaced or covered.
Hundreds of years before the invention of the automobile, horse-drawn carriages had a wood or metal plant mounted in front of the driver above his feet and knees. The purpose of this board was to deflect dirt, mud, or any debris that a horse would kick up onto the driver or passengers. This was the dashboard, and it gets its name from the word "dash" which means to break or smash. On the first cars, the dashboard performed the same function as it did on the carriages of centuries past. However as technology advanced, electronic instruments, warning lights, and gauges were affixed to the dash so as to inform the driver of the status of other vehicle components (http://www.ehow.com/about_4702359_car-dashboards.html). With each decade, automakers began to stylize the dashboard and use it as a focal point for the car's interior. Now, we see dashtops made of urethane, vinyl, plastic, or leather with wood, aluminum, or other composite trim inserts.
Installing a new dash pad assembly can be a pain. Most of the time, it requires many hours spent removing other components that are connected to the dashboard like the instrument cluster, air vents, radio, A/C controls, steering column and cover, etc. On older vehicles, it can be much easier and could only require you to remove fasteners and other hardware. Since every vehicle is different, there is no clear cut DIY procedure. It is recommended that you find a build guide or factory repair manual for your vehicle to learn how best to remove and re-install a dashboard. If you are only installing a dash cover, then you are in luck. Typically, those will adhere to your factory dash top using glue or similar adhesive. It is a much simpler and quicker install, and will usually look much better than your beat up original.
At Car Parts Discount, we offer replacement dash pad assemblies made using original molds from urethane or foam-wrapped vinyl. These are going to be perfect reproductions of your original, and will install the same way. We also carry plastic dash top covers, only 1/16" thick and molded to fit your existing dash perfectly. No matter which item you choose, you are sure to be happy with the appearance of your interior.