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Repairing the cracks in my dashboard

The top of the dashboard of my '87 Toyota pickup has cracks in it, cracks that open all the way through its thickness, about 1/32-inch wide at their widest, 2-8 inches long. I’d like to fill them with something that would expand as the crack expanded and resist the bright sun of Albuquerque.

I picked up one of these to repair the dash pad cracks in my 1993 Chevrolet Caprice. The dash covering was in such bad shape, I never used it though.

Until I found a replacement dash pad, I used a Dashmat to cover it. After I found a replacement dash pad, I still use the Dashmat to cover it up.

I also looked a dash caps which go over the original dash pad. I didn’t find any for the Caprice but here is a partial cover for your truck.

Ed B.

It’s almost impossible to fix it without ruining your reputation or taking 80 points off your credit rating. For the sake of your family and property value, find another dashboard or an entire car. The money you save on gasoline could change your life. Better than finding a new spouse or finding one who will respect you with the lousy dash. Finding the latter might be nice but “good luck with that”.

There is no way to fix something like that. That patch stuff at best only work on small defects and will crack not stretch. Above answers are best. You could also get some headliner material and glue it over the dash. If you insist on fixing it, you’ll need to fill the deep cracks with like the spray expandable foam product, use the patching to get a smooth surface, and spray the whole thing with the vinyl spray for whatever color you need. Time you get done, it’ll still look bad, and not be worth it.

The patching of a dash sometimes looks worse than the cracks. The crack (hole) is honest but the patch is not. A dash cover is the way to go.

You can use this product to fill your cracks;
It’s not perfect but will be an improvement.

I would bite the bullet and buy a whole new pad. J.C. Whitney and others have custom pads for a wide range of vehicles. I have also seen cheap repairs that don’t look too bad by using MacTac or similar stick-on plastic shelf liner. I have use this successfully on the rear hat shelf, which, of course, does not have a lot of curves in it.

I agree that you should replace it. If you try to fix it, you will be the brunt of another Jeff Foxworthy joke.

You know you’r a redneck when you smear on epoxy to fill in the cracks in your dash pad.

I’m astonished that respondents think that the owner of an '87 Toyota pickup cares about how its dashboard looks or expects to impress a woman. I care only because I fear someone spilling a liquid: no cup-holders in this vehicle. I’m not going to go to the trouble of installing a new dash. I took this one off to fix a short in the wiring harness 10 years ago: that short blew the fuse in the circuit that provided the power to the brake lights, turn signals, and some other stuff: I had to fix it.

I was thinking of a high-temperature gasket goop. I have some in red. It actually doesn’t have to expand: I can apply a new layer as the cracks expand. It may not matter: just cracking seems to relieve the tension that causes the cracks: they don’t seem to have expanded.

Random Troll, as time goes by the plasticizers in the dashboard evaporate. This can amount to 10% or more of the plastic. This process is accelerated by sunlight heating up the dash. By now, all the plasticizers should be gone. I’d put a dash cover over the dashboard to hide it even if you fill the cracks. If you drill a small hole at the tip of the crack, it will relieve the stresses. Then fill the cracks.

You ol’ redneck, you.

I’d avoid the gasket goop. You need something that’ll form a foam. I’m thinking a little bit of that spray foam used to insulate cavities in houses. You could trim off any excess with a single edge razor.

Using something should slow down the outgassing from the reaining material too.

If you look at the link I put on earlier about VLP you will see it goes from -10 to +200 degrees, tensile strength of 2900psi and more importantly, elongation of 240% . That’s almost 2.5 times the stretch. I’ve used it; it’s pretty impressive. (VLP= Vinyl Liquid Patch)

“You need something that’ll form a foam. I’m thinking a little bit of that spray foam used to insulate cavities in houses. You could trim off any excess with a single edge razor.”

That could work. The foam will be an open cell foam after it is trimmed, and would likely pick up any dirt that contacts it. But if the OP sprays some paint on it, that could solve the problem. If the whole dash is sprayed, it may not look all that bad unless someone looks closely.

I would just install one of these and call it good.


I’m always pleased and flattered when Mr Tester responds. I’m sure he recommends the best solution. But I won’t spend $120. Even if it would make a 25-year-old pickup a chick magnet, I’m not (I look even worse than my pickup: I’m older, so I have an excuse.)

I downloaded the documents for the Permatex and VLP. The latter looks better, ACE sells it, and it doesn’t require heat.

Then just leave the cracks as they are and drive on. Any attempt to repair the dash cracks are going to look worse than the cracks themselves. Believe me, I’ve tried all the so called vinyl repair kits and none made the dash look any better.


I want to protect what’s underneath the dashboard from spills. I don’t care much how it looks, though I’d prefer non-ugly if it didn’t cost too much. All the goops I’ve looked at and others have suggested cost less than $10.

Thanks anyway.