What are Cracked Trims?
trims get put under a great deal of extreme conditions and can easily suffer with cracking taking place, in particular with vinyl dashboards.
Trims can become cracked for many reasons, UV rays, Heat and Cold. Your dash will take the brunt of everything. Sun is constantly beaming down all day and the glass screen acts like a greenhouse making the dashboard extremely hot, then if you bang on the air conditioning and the dashboard is rapidly cooled down.
These conditions have a challenging effect on your dash, causing the dash to crack in time, this occurs where the dash is expanding and contracting and starts to crack on stress areas, this can be noticed in corners or around vent areas.
Leather dashboards very rarely crack if you look after them and feed them on a regular basis. A good quality natural protection cream is best for your dashboard. Ceramic coatings can cause drying out of leather as it seals the pores of the skin stopping the leather from breathing. Applying a spray protection leather, a leather juice and then a protection cream is going to give you far better protection than anything else.
Deep cleaning the trims before applying any form of protection or coating is essential, dust can accumulate on dashboards and become embedded in the grain, so it’s essential this is dealt with to make sure you are not causing more damage than good. A deep clean with a natural water based cleaner and soft bristle brush is all that’s required, a detailing brush is most probably best as it can froth up the cleaning solution to get more dirt lifted out.
Trims that are cracked, can be repaired depending on how bad the cracking is, where dashboards are all buckled up in many areas, it’s best to have this re-covered with new vinyl as most dashboards are vinyl, a lot of the trim in cars is also vinyl or as in door cards, gear sticks etc these are covered in a very fine drop split leather.
Using standard type fillers isn’t going to work, heat cure fillers is what’s required, if the edges of a split are curled up and lifted off the surface, these need to be heated up first, to ensure the vinyl becomes flexible again, so this can be glued back down, don’t overheat as this can cause the glue to give way on other areas.
First of all, you need to fully degrease the surfaces, using a leather prep and alcohol cleaner carefully degrease the full surface making sure you don’t over wet as alcohol and prep could cause the glue to delaminate, once you have glued down any edges that are lifting, the next step is to give the full surface a light sand. This will give a key for the new paints to bond correctly, you then begin to apply the heat cure fillers to the gaps and apply the grain pad and heat proof paper and gently heat with a heat iron to secure the gaps and re grain the area as it cures.
Now you have applied the heat cured fillers to grain those areas that need to be bridged, you can start to the vinyl promoter, before applying give the full dashboard, including the areas repaired, a light wipe over with alcohol cleaner. Once you have cleaned the full dashboard again, start to apply the vinyl adhesion promotor.
When vinyl adhesion promotor is dry it’s sticky, once this is applied all over you can begin the colouring stages, it’s best to spray the colour on to gain a nice even finish, just make sure all areas are masked up correctly before spraying on the colourant. After the colourant has been applied and this is fully dried a clear coat of lacquer can be applied. You can apply this in any sheen level, BUT remember the glossier this is, the more dangerous this could be due to glare back you will get through the screen. So, it’s advised you apply a matt finish to these items.
Any type of trim like plastic trim can be repaired, recoloured or the colour changed, prep as normal, apply an adhesion promotor and paint, then seal over with a lacquer.