Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Sunglasses in dashboard

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a green 2003 Chevy Trailblazer (even if it is an SUV, at least the color is green, and so I can somehow feel environmental).

About a year ago I left my narrow clip-on sunglasses on my dashboard to go to a business luncheon. When I returned I couldn?t find them, but didn?t think much about it. Since then I have a constant rattling in my dashboard and strongly suspect they fell in an air vent; hung up on some wires. I inspected under the dash, but can?t spot it.

I asked my local Chinese mechanic, Usa Lee Wong (sorry, but when in Rome) what I could do, and his felt it would require removing the entire dashboard.

Do you have any easier / cheaper recommendation?


I didn’t know “environmental” was a feeling.

The sunglasses probably slid down the defroster vents, but they are not hung up on a wire under the dashboard. They are inside the HVAC system, caught somewhere in the ductwork, and that’s why you hear them rattling around but you can’t see them.

If you’re really lucky you might be able to fish them out with some wire, either through the defroster vents (please post video of this), or maybe you can push them down lower in the system and get them out through the heat vents.

Can you make them slide from place to place by steering quickly or braking hard? If so you may be able to position them in the ductwork at a point they could be easily reached. Probably not, but it’s worth a shot. Try this in an empty parking lot, not on the road.

If the ductwork has to be disassembled to retrieve the glasses, it’s likely that some or all of the dashboard will have be removed first.

Are your clip-ons metal and/or magnetized?

I saw a bunch of small tools at Pep Boys this weekend that look like they are made for such a task. They are long narrow reachers with a magnet on the end. They also have small adjustable mirrors (like the dentist uses) for seeing around corners in tight spaces. They are not expensive tools and are probably worth a try.