The dashboard is an integral part of your car’s structure and functioning – but it is often overlooked due to the major internal components like the engine and transmission. Owners can expect to pay between $2,118 and $2,267 for the dashboard replacement cost. Breaking down the prices, the cost of labor is between $570 and $720, while the cost of the parts is around $1,548.
Although this price does not consider taxes and fees, it can provide you an estimate for the total dashboard replacement cost at your local mechanic’s shop or dealership. By being knowledgeable about the average price, you can ensure you get a fair deal to repair your vehicle’s important component.
To best understand the dashboard replacement cost, we will discuss the instrument panel’s purpose, symptoms of a broken dashboard, and how often your instrument panel or dashboard needs to be replaced.
What is the Instrument Panel/Dashboard? – Dashboard Replacement Cost
The dashboard, also known as the instrument panel, is the main control center and the structural housing on the interior of the vehicle. As you sit in the front driver or passenger seat in your car, you may find yourself resting your feet on the dashboard. You could also be switching the radio stations, changing the heat and air conditioning controls, or using the steering wheel to control the car.
If you are doing any of these things, you are directly interacting with the dashboard and instrument panel. Although a broken instrument panel may only be a nuisance if broken, it can cause extreme safety concerns if the lights no longer work, your safety signals are not functioning, or the display of crucial components, like speed and gas mileage, are no longer showing on the panel.
In this case, it would be best to calculate the total dashboard replacement cost so that you can continue driving safely. Along with electrical concerns, the dashboard doubles as the control center and monitoring center for the vehicle’s operation. If your internal components, like fluid levels and electrical system connections, are not displaying correctly, this is a sign your dashboard is malfunctioning.
What is the instrument panel’s function?
The instrument panel is often considered just stylish and aesthetic, used for covering electrical components. However, it allows the car user, whether driver or passenger, to control various features present throughout the entire vehicle.
For any dial or knob that is not accessible on the steering wheel or steering column, the instrument panel houses the extra features that can be directly altered and easily adjusted by the front seat passenger. The instrument panel also houses the HVAC central housing, protects the HVAC duct vents, fastens and secures the steering column in place, and carries the wiring harness inside the car.
The wiring harness houses the important electrical connections between different parts of the car, allowing the car’s central computer to communicate with the periphery. If your car’s electrical parts do not receive signals from the main computer, you will have to research the dashboard replacement cost.
Lastly, the dashboard or instrument panel provides an aesthetically good-looking and pleasing cover to the electrical and HVAC components. Providing a physical boundary keeps the car’s high-quality appearance and prevents the passenger and driver from accidentally harming the interior of the vehicle.
Faulty Instrument Panel Symptoms – Dashboard Replacement Cost
There are three main ways in which the instrument panel, or dashboard, can fail. If you notice any of these warning signs, make sure you take heed and bring your car to a mechanic before it's too late, and you have to pay the full dashboard replacement cost.
Warping Panel Cover
One of the main signs of a faulty instrument panel is warping on the cover. Warping can typically be caused by excessive heat in a certain area. If the dashboard frequently succumbs to extremely high temperatures without cooling off, it can cause warping and the instrument panel’s aesthetic statue to fade.
Cracking Instrument Panel Pad
Secondly, another common symptom of a broken instrument panel is the cracking of the instrument panel pad. Cracking is an obvious sign of damage and can be quite unsightly and dangerous to the car’s driver and front passenger.
Motor Mount Breakage
Lastly, failure can occur from loosening or breakage of the mounting locations on the instrument panel. The loosening of the mounting brackets’ hardware or breakage requires immediate attention from an educated mechanic since this problem can cause further issues in the car.
If your dashboard is damaged due to loose connections, this can cause movement on the dashboard panel and wobbling of the steering column. Since the steering column is paramount to controlling the vehicle and ensuring the steering wheel works properly, a dashboard replacement will be required to keep the car in control.
Can you drive with a faulty instrument panel? – Dashboard Replacement Cost
If the motor mount brakes on the instrument panel and the dashboard is no longer connected to the car’s chassis, this would be an imminent reason to ask for a quote for the dashboard replacement cost. If the instrument panel moves while the car is driving, the movement can lead to excessive wear and tear, causing a quicker breakdown of the wiring harness.
Since the wiring harness will be harmed by the constant friction, rubbing, and vibrations, it can cause the steering column to move in either direction. This laxity of the steering column can cause the car to shift in any direction while driving, leading to a dangerous driving statute. In this scenario, finding the dashboard replacement cost’s total price is crucial to the passengers’ and driver’s safety.
For the instrument panel’s warping and cracking, the repairs and replacements are not as necessary and severe as motor mount breakage. Although unsightly and annoying to the driver, this damage is purely aesthetic. The total dashboard replacement cost will be much lower than that in the previous scenario.
When do you need to replace the dashboard? – Dashboard Replacement Cost
For car owners to understand the total dashboard replacement cost, they must know the frequency of maintenance intervals and repairs required to keep their car working properly and safely. Instrument panels are typically only required to be replaced when there is structural damage to the car (i.e., motor mount breakage).
Compared to other parts or fluids, like transmission fluid and O-ring seals, the dashboard replacement will be far less often than parts on a regular maintenance schedule. The likelihood of replacing the entire instrument panel is much less than a broken mounting bracket or other connecting parts.
How do I diagnose the instrument panel concerns?
Although this is a relatively easy fix and does not contain any major internal components, like the engine or transmission, fixing the dashboard will typically involve a local mechanic shop trip. The only diagnostics a professional will need when determining if they need to quote the total dashboard replacement cost is the structure’s movement or laxity.
If the instrument panel moves, regardless of which direction, a motor mount issue must be resolved and fixed before it causes internal damage to the wiring harness and steering column. In this case, removing the instrument panel or dashboard could be necessary.
Replacing the dash pad will give the mechanic space and access to the heater core, evaporator coil, or other internal parts that can cause any deep-lying issues in the electrical or HVAC system housed under the instrument panel.
Steps to Replacing the Dashboard – Dashboard Replacement Cost
First, the trim panels must be removed around the dashboard. In addition, the control units, like the air condition, radio, instrument cluster, infotainment technology, headlight switches, and steering columns, have to be removed.
Secondly, once these components are removed from the dashboard, the battery and wiring harness must be disconnected and removed from the connection points from the vehicle chassis.
Afterward, some cars may have vacuum lines and manifolds that need to be removed to access and take out the motor mount fasteners. Once this step is complete, the mechanic or car owners will complete a final scan to analyze and ensure all of the components are detached.
Once the scan is complete, some cars may require the seats to be removed to fully extract the faulty dashboard. Lastly, once the seats are removed from the car, a new instrument panel can be installed, and all the electrical components can be put back into the vehicle.
Dashboard Replacement Cost
The average cost of replacing the dashboard will range between $2,118 and $2,267 on average. This means that although this part is not the engine or transmission, almost all car owners will pay over $2k to repair or replace this component in their vehicle.
The Bottom Line
When analyzing how much you will spend on the dashboard replacement cost, owners will need to know the most common dashboard warning signs, the factors that can affect the overall price, and the steps to replacing and repairing instrument panel components.