Change the appearance of the dashboard

It was:

It became:

In my reliable but old Mazda, the dashboard began to clearly indicate its age. Her night illumination is now too dim, and her appearance is clearly out of fashion. So I decided to do something and make her a “facelift” :-)

What you need:

  • Factory user manual for the car.

  • Screwdrivers.

  • Isopropyl alcohol.

  • Matte adhesive paper.

  • Scissors or knife.

  • Diffuser plate (can be found on older LCD monitors).

  • Instead of a scattering plate, you can still use 2-3 layers of tracing paper.

Removing dashboard pointers

Since this is done differently in different cars, I would recommend downloading the factory instructions directly to your model. In some cases, everything is quite simple, but sometimes you have to make an effort.

This master class is about how to transform the look of the dashboard dials, so I won’t go into details about how I managed to remove the dashboard.

Removing Pointers

Removing the gauge pointers is quite simple. However, you need to remember about the arrows, as they break easily. For convenience, you can use tweezers. The main patience and consistency in action. Alternatively, the arrow can be lifted with a fork.

If it is stuck, heat it with a building or regular hair dryer. So the plastic will expand and take off easier.

Dial removal

Usually the dial is held by screws or small bolts. Find them and carefully remove the plate. Additionally, it can hold onto small plastic mounts that hold it in place. Understand how the mounting mechanism works, and remove the dial.

Draw the look of the future dial

After removing the dial, the first thing I did was scan it. Then I imported the image into the vector graphics editor, and outlined the contours of the plate. Thus, I do not have to measure the exact dimensions of the dial. Next, I finished designing the appearance of the new pointer and printed it on sticky paper. I used paper with a matte surface, and the image was applied with a color laser printer. You can use an inkjet printer with photo paper, but the laser image will be of higher quality.

It's time to clean the old dial

You need to remove the paint from the dial. In order not to spoil the plastic of which the dial is made, I used 70% isopropyl alcohol. The use of solvents for this work is undesirable. Soaking the dial in alcohol softened the paint, and after a few minutes it easily left, and in front of me lay two clean plates.

Label Making

It's time to cut the stickers. We take scissors and carefully cut out the desired shape. Now glue.

To prevent bubbles from sticking, carefully clean the surface of the dial. Peel off a small portion of the sticker from the paper and align it with your watch face. Glue sticky paper gradually. To do this, you can hold it with your index finger or a plastic card.

After the paper is fully pasted, the corresponding holes must be cut through it.

Attach a diffusion plate to the dial

The light from the lights on the dashboard can be unevenly distributed, making some parts of the dial brighter. In order for the light to fall uniformly, you need to attach a diffusion plate to the dial. In my case, I used a plate removed from a cracked LCD monitor. Having cut out the necessary shapes, I glued them to the back of the dials.

Note: You can still add a few additional LED lamps, but this is the topic of another master class.

Lamp replacement

Since we are making the appearance of our dashboard more pleasant, it is time to change the lamps. This is pretty easy to do. You just need to turn the lamp holder slightly counterclockwise and then pull the lamp out of it. In my car, the panel was illuminated by five yellow-lit lamps. I replaced them with LED.

Fold it all back

After we checked the lighting, it was time to assemble the panel. Just do everything in reverse order.

Thanks for your attention.

Original article in English