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. A good-looking dash tells a potential buyer that you take care of your vehicle, and a protective dash cover is a good way to preserve your dash’s appearance. 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 lies over your dash, Cabela's carries two types that are custom-fitted and molded to the contours of your vehicle’s year, make and model. Even with a custom fit, the price is very affordable, especially when you consider the alternative damage and reduced value of your vehicle. Custom-fitted covers are available on a wide selection of vehicles, including exotics. 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.
For sportsmen, the camouflage option features the Mossy Oak® Break-Up® poly/cotton pattern with a tough face and a soft, cushioned backing. Edges are wrapped with black binding to eliminate fraying. It has been custom-cut and sewn to fit the dash of your hunting rig or everyday vehicle. Cutouts accommodate vents and your glove box, console and instrument panel. There are even cutouts for access to your passenger-side utility tray that won’t interfere with air bags.
The most affordable choice is constructed out of the highest-quality low-pile polyester carpet made using a Computer-Aided Design from the original vehicle dash to complement all cutouts, sensors, cupholders and air-bag openings.
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, 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-fitted dash cover in a 2005 Ford F-250. It was a tough job. I had to hold half the weight and guide the cover into position, lining up pre-cut slits for the airbag area and air conditioner vents. 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 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 in a variety of flattering colors or camouflage patterns.
Now if only I had kept my face covered all these years, I'd look like a teenager. Well, maybe a mature teenager.