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Dashboard Replacement Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

The average cost for a dashboard replacement is between $1889 and $2249. Labor costs are estimated between $484 and $844 while parts are priced at $1405. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
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What is an Instrument Panel?

More commonly known as the dashboard or just dash, the instrument panel is the main control center and component housing for the interior of the vehicle. In addition, it doubles as the control center and monitoring center for the operation of most of the vehicle. It consists of a base frame which is adapted to the individual components of the instrument panel to be mounted to, and a dash pad or instrument cluster pad which covers unsightly mechanical and electronic portions with a more pleasant veneer.

What is the Instrument Panel for?

This portion of the vehicle is more operational than aesthetic, and allows the user of the vehicle to adjust every variable control on the vehicle that is not adjustable on the steering wheel steering column, or on the actual components that it controls. The instrument panel also covers the HVAC central housing, carries the ducts for the HVAC vents, holds the steering column in place, and carries the wiring harness for the interior of the vehicle. It also provides an aesthetically pleasing cover to look at, and is as vital to the design of the vehicle as the exterior body panels.

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What are the symptoms of a bad Instrument Panel?

Instrument panels fail in three ways. Warpage, cracking of the instrument panel pad (cover), and loosening or breakage of mounting locations. Otherwise, the only failure to be expected is concerning the components mounted on the instrument panel, not the panel itself. Cracking and warping are obvious and unsightly, but loosening of mounting hardware or breakage of mounting brackets requires remediation since it will allow movement of the dash panel and steering column.

Can I drive with a bad Instrument Panel?

Only in the case of breakage of a mount that secures the instrument panel to the chassis would this be considered a necessary repair. If the instrument panel is allowed movement, that movement can slowly degrade the wiring harness due to rubbing and vibration or allow the steering column to shift in any direction, depending on the location of the broken mount. For warpage and cracking, as unsightly as it may be, the instrument panel is only suffering from aesthetic damage, so repair is at the discretion of the owner.

How often do Instrument Panels need replacement?

Instrument panels are replaced far less often than many components on any vehicle. That is because the likelihood of replacing the entire instrument panel is far lower than replacing individually mounted components. As well, the likelihood of replacing an instrument panel due to a broken mounting bracket is much lower than having the mounted bracket repaired by welding. This is normally the case in the event of a collision, especially if the airbags did not deploy. Nearly all vehicles will end their service life with the same instrument panel as when they were assembled at the factory.

How are Instrument Panel issues diagnosed?

The only diagnostics needed when determining if an instrument panel should be replaced or repaired is by testing for movement. If the instrument panel moves in any direction, there is a mounting issue that must be resolved. Removal of the instrument panel may be necessary when the instrument panel is not in need of repair. This will be due to replacing the dash pad, for some vehicles, accessing the heater core or evaporator coil, or replacement or testing of other components nestled deeply under the instrument panel.

How are Instrument Panels replaced?

Since this portion of the vehicle is so integral of other systems, removal and replacement is a daunting task. First, all of the trim panels must be removed, followed by all control units, such as the air conditioning controls, radio, instrument cluster, headlight switch, steering column, etc.., and that is simply to access the mounting fasteners. Once those components are removed, and not to mention the battery disconnected, the wiring harness will need to be removed from the vehicle chassis at some points, and from the instrument panel at other points. This is because some of the wiring harness will stay connected to the instrument panel during removal, and some will remain on the chassis. Afterwards, some vehicles will have vacuum lines and manifolds to remove, and the mounting fasteners can be extracted. Once accomplished, a final scan will be conducted to ensure all of the many components are detached, and clearance will be checked to determine if the seats must be removed to extract the dashboard. In the absolute worst case, the windshield may require removal in order to extract the instrument panel, though this is very rare. Once extracted, if replacing with a new instrument panel, all mounted components will be transferred, and the instrument panel will be replaced in reverse order before extensive testing of all operations performed on the instrument panel.

RepairPal Recommendations for Instrument Panel issues

We recommend trusting only a certified technician to perform this repair, as lesser trained technicians can cause great damage to a vehicle while removing and installing the many connections and components behind the instrument panel. Not only can a lack of experience and training cause physical damage to these components and the wiring harness, but improper installation of the instrument panel can result in vibrations while driving, loss or intermittent loss of functionality, and more time without the use of your vehicle.

What to look out for when dealing with Instrument Panel issues

When instrument panels are installed on most vehicles at the factory, the seats, windshield, steering column, and doors are not installed on the vehicle. As with all large assemblies, this should be taken into account when having this repair performed since the vehicle may have to return to a similar state for removal and installation. Also, if replacing the dash pad, it is not extremely common to completely remove the instrument panel base frame, but in some cases it may be necessary to separate it from the chassis.

Can I replace the Instrument Panel myself?

This repair should be left to a professional technician, as even many entry level technicians will require assistance completing this repair. This is a large job, and with all of the components involved there is a great chance of error or failure. Something else to consider is that once the job progresses past removal of trim panels, the vehicle may require towing to a repair facility.

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