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Vinyl Dash Kits - An Inexpensive Alternative to Traditional Dash Kits

Updated on August 9, 2012

Vinyl Dash Trim

Looking for an economical alternative to painting your dash? Want to dress up your ride but afraid of commitment? Want to give your car's interior the look of brushed aluminum, chrome or carbon fiber? If so, a vinyl dash kit may bethe perfect answer for you.

Carbon FIber Dash Kit
Carbon FIber Dash Kit

Vinyl Dash Kits

A New and Inexpensive Alternative

When you ask most people if they know what a dash kit is more likely than not the response will be "No." But, if you're lucky enough to find someone who does they will almost certainly be familiar with the so-called real wood dash kits which are sold as add-ons by dealerships or online starting at $200 each. Suffice it to say that the concept of a vinyl dash kit will never have entered their minds but, as we shall see, these kits provide a non-permanent and economical alternative to the much more expensive kits sold by drop-shippers such as CarID or at your local dealer. Yet, before we can explain the differences and peculiar benefits of a vinyl dash kit we need to first define what a so-called wood or "domed" dash kit is.

Traditional Wood Dash Kit
Traditional Wood Dash Kit

The Traditional Dash Trim Kit

A traditional dash kit is generally made from either real wood, metal or carbon fiber (although the list of materials and finishes are actually endless) or a printed facsimile thereof which is backed by 3M foam tape and "domed" with a polyurethane coating. It should come as no surprise that the real wood and metal kits (e.g., brushed aluminum, chrome or engine turn aluminum) are incredibly expensive and may actual bolt into the dash. Real dash kits are rare in this day and age and ae pretty much the exclusive domain of professional show car builders.

The second type of dash kit mentioned above is the simulated finish kit which comonly use a printed film with an adhesive back and over which is poured a clear, polyurethane coating. Once this coating dries it adds an eighth to a quater-inch in thickness and gives the appearance of actual wood or carbon fiber. There is a huge variety to be found in the quality of these kits but the best are made by companies such as Sherwood Dash and always use 3M foam tape to insure adhesion.

Although these kits are certainly easy on the eyes they are not as easy on the wallet. Furthermore, once you've committed to installing a traditional dash kit you are pretty much stuck with it. The attachment methods of these kits are such that once they are applied you cannot easily remove them without causing serious damage to your interior.

Now that we understand the differences between the materials used in traditional dash kits and their methods of attachments we need to explain just what they do. In essence, dash kits can enhance the interior of a vehicle by adding the appearance of luxury in a car. A dash kit contains numerous pieces which are CAD-designed (in most cases) to cover strategic areas of your interior such as the air vents, center console and door and window controls. The result is easier seen than described so please take a moment and inspect the photo below:

The Advantages of a Vinyl Dash Kit

Now that we have some understanding of what a dash kit is it should be easy enough to extrapolate and describe the unique benefits of a vinyl dash kit. In short, a vinyl dash kit is designed in exactly the same way as more traditional dash kits but it is made from thin, self-adhesive vinyl vinyls which apply (like traditional kits) over the existing dash in order to enhance the look of the interior. Vinyl kits are considerably thinner than their traditional counterparts (usually being 0.0042 inches in thickness) and can therefore be more difficult to apply. However, any difficulty in apply the vinyl trim kits is outweighed by the fact that they are generally 1/4 the price and can be had for under $40 from many retailers.

Aside from price another benefit of a vinyl dash kit is the fact that they are completely removable. Because they use semi-permanent adhesives, vinyl trim kits can be removed according to the whim of the consumer without causing damage to the vehicle's interior. In addition, because material costs are lower companies such as Rvinyl wil include duplicates of many pieces in order to ensure successful applications.

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