Age has a way of slipping up on you and the things you own. Take a peek in the mirror some time, then stand a little closer and pay attention to the detail. It can be a sobering experience.
If you've had a vehicle for more than a few years, a similar examination of the dash will reveal something between the first signs of aging and severe cracking. Without regular treatments vinyl will begin to dry out and fade. Cracks come next. While you can't get a cover for your face to prevent the ravages of time, vehicles are different, a lot different.
With the cost of vehicles rising steadily, it just makes sense to protect your vintage ride, or a new one you've just purchased. When it comes time for a trade, you're going to need as much margin on the down payment as you can muster. Since a vehicle's dash is one of the things in a vehicle that a prospective buyer looks at, a good-looking dash tells a potential buyer that you take care of your vehicle.
If your vehicle is already past its prime, a dash cover can improve your view, prevent further degradation and make it easier to sell when the time comes because of the simple admonition - out of sight, out of mind.
While there are cheap versions on the market, that are nothing more than a strip of material that lays over your dash, Cabela's carries two types that are custom fitted to the year, make and model of your vehicle and molded to the contours. Even with a custom fit, the price is very affordable, especially when you consider the alternative damage and reduced value of your vehicle. A custom fit cover is available on a very wide selection of vehicles including exotics such as my son's 1964 Corvair Spyder. Check out the options that go all the way back to 1957. Now that was a great year for dashes, as well as tail fins.
Another benefit of a dash cover is reduced glare while driving. The sun reflecting off of a hard surface can cause fatigue from eyestrain when driving into the sun and soft mats eliminate that problem completely. On the subject of visual stimulation, an option that creates eye appeal, instead of eyestrain would be adding your own personal statement of support and dedication. Sports fans can have their favorite NCAA team logo or pro football helmet embroidered into the DashMat and UltiMat brands of custom dashboard covers. A team logo will let your passengers know up front where your loyalties lie.
I recently assisted with the installation of a Cover King custom fit dash cover in a 2005 Ford F250. It was a tough job. I had to hold half the weight, and guide the cover into position, which had slits precut for the airbag area and air conditioner vents that had to be lined up. It took about 15 seconds to install and 30 minutes of admiring our work. After some consideration, it occurred to me that 20 years from now that Ford dash will look like it did when it rolled off the assembly line.
Another option for protecting your dash would be a custom heat shield that you can keep behind or under your vehicle's seat, and spread it out to cover the interior of your windshield when you park. While this option won't protect your vehicle's interior while you're driving, it is a great option for anyone who has to leave their ride out in the baking sun while they earn a living. In addition to blocking out harmful UV rays, this type of shield will also reduce the temperature inside your vehicle on summer days when it can get really hot. These units come with a reflective surface on one side and a soft material on the other, or for sportsmen you can even get one in camo.
Now if only I had kept my face covered all these years, I'd look like a teenager. Well, maybe a mature teenager.