Is your Dodge Ram Dashboard Cracking? Here’s How to Fix It.

Cracked 1998 Ram Dash
Cracked 1998 Ram dash, shared on carcomplaints.com.

The dashboard is about the last thing you’d expect to break on your car. It’s just a big piece of plastic after all. What could go wrong? Well, hundreds of Dodge Ram owners have experienced this problem. Some Ram dashboards develop cracks and can eventually break into pieces.

How Common is it for the dashboard to crack on Dodge Rams?

CarComplaints.com has recorded over 600 complaints for the 2001 model year alone. According to the website, it’s the most common complaint for that year. The problem persisted for several years. Car Complaints points to the 1999-2003 model years, but DodgeProblems.com notes cracking dashboards in models from 1998 all the way up to 2006.

The New York Times found over 200 complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration about the problem. Keep in mind these numbers just represent the people who took the time to file a complaint.

How Bad Is It?

The problem can start with hairline cracks, but in some cases entire chunks of the dashboard come off. One of the NHTSA complaints the New York Times found noted that a piece of dashboard flew off and hit the owner in the face. Holes in the dashboard can also let moisture and debris into the equipment underneath. In one report, this resulted in shorted wires, horn, and lighting failures.

Despite the widespread problem and the possible safety concerns, there is no recall for the dashboard problem. Both Chrysler (which owns Dodge and Ram) and the NHTSA consider the problem cosmetic. The 2013 New York Times article noted that there were no injury claims up to that point.

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How Do I Fix My Cracked Dodge Ram Dashboard?

If your dashboard is just starting to crack, you may want to take care of it before it gets any worse. You have two options if you want to fix a broken dash. You can remove the entire dash and replace it with a new one, or you can install a dash cover over the original dash. The cover will come with adhesive to stick it to the dash. 1A Auto carries dash covers that fit.

To install a new dash, you’ll have to take off the old one, which may come off in pieces, depending on how bad its cracked. Before that, you’ll also have to remove anything that will keep you from getting at all the edges of the dash, like the glove box and the instrument panel bezel. Geno’s Garage provides a good overview.

Installing a dashboard cover is much easier. Here’s how you do it.

  • Clean (what’s left of) your original dash. That will help the adhesive stick.
  • Line up the cover on the new dash to make sure it will fit properly.
  • If you need to trim any edges, use a razor.
  • Apply the adhesive to the edges of the cover.
  • Carefully press the cover into place over the old dash.
  • Let the adhesive dry. You may want to put light weights (like books) on the cover to press the adhesive onto the old dash.

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