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How to Remove an Aftermarket Wood Dash Kit From Your Car

May 26, 2008
You're right to expect that this will be quite a bit of work, but it's something you can definitely do at home if you have some time and patience. Bottom line, it can get messy and it is time consuming, so there are a few ground rules that we need to set first before you begin this project.

Here's what you'll need -
1. Plenty of time
2. Heat gun or hair dryer
3. Goof Off (or similar glue remover)
4. Lots of clean rags
5. Replacement dash trim kit (maybe)

First, the big question. Are you absolutely sure its an aftermarket wood dash kit? These instructions only apply to an aftermarket installed wood dash kit. These type kits are overlays, (usually installed at the local car dealerships) and can be removed with some persuasion. However if you have a factory installed dash kit, and by factory I mean installed at the manufacturing plant level (not the dealership) you can not remove the kit without replacing the entire dash part. The wood will not separate from the dash in this instance. If you are sure its an add-on aftermarket dash kit then we are good to go.

Second, be sure to pick a day when you have a good block of time open because this is not something you can rush. So that means that you need to pick a day that you are off from work, and no doctor or dentist appointments. Also, you need to be prepared to (more than likely) reinstall a replacement dash kit to cover up any markings left by the old kit that you are removing. Sometimes you can get lucky and it wont leave any marks, but most of the time there will be some type of markings such as outlines or discoloration of the dash.

To begin, you'll want to use a hair dryer and try to heat up the wood dash kit as much as possible. That will soften the glue to some extent, and you can try to start pulling up a corner of the dash piece slowly and lifting it off. and it is important that you really warm it up good or it will be very hard and brittle, making it tougher and more time consuming to remove. I wouldnt use any sharp tools here, though you will be tempted to do so. Try just using your fingers to pull, as anything sharp used will likely damage your dash.

Take your time! Once you get a piece off you will more than likely be left with some glue or adhesive. Warm that up again and try to remove that best as you can without any solvents (just the first step). Then, when you do need some solvent, try a glue remover like goof-off (available at home improvement stores such as Home Depot) but be very careful where you wipe it. If you get that on any of your new surfaces you may get some discoloration. Just be careful and use it sparingly. A damp rag is much better in this case than a dripping wet one. If you need to use a soft rubber squeegee to agitate the adhesive with the solvent, that is okay - but steer clear of razors or metal objects. You will damage your interior with those.

If you are uncomfortable performing this task or find that you do not have enough experience, we always recommend professionals to to this project. Call your local body shop and discuss further options with them so you dont damage your vehicle.
About the Author
Mike Briglia is the owner of Custom Auto Trim, a car accessories company based out of San Diego CA. Find more information on dash kits at http://www.customautotrim.com/
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