Ask the Mechanic

Thursday September 23 2021
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By Paul Kaganzi

HOW CAN I REPLACE MY OLD CAR DASHBOARD?

My Toyota Harrier has very ugly cracks all over the dashboard. They have gotten from bad to worse and its upsetting to look at every morning as I drive to work. Why has this happened? Can I replace the dashboard and is it affordable?

Merina Tusingwire.

Hello Merina, a cracked vehicle dashboard can be disconcerting sight every morning, and it gets worse with time. Vinyl dashboards can crack overtime when exposed to strong ultraviolet sun rays when you park out in the open for a long time. UV light evaporates the oils in the plastic material breaking down the molecules of the components used to build your PVC dashboard. 

It is very expensive to order a new dashboard because its bulky and detailed. However, you can get an affordable dashboard makeover by a good car upholstery shop.

This entails removal of the dashboard, sanding off the old vinyl material and replacing it with softer but durable leatherex or synthetic leather material.

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A good dashboard makeover will give your car a more premium look which will help you forget your current woes.

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CAN I DRIVE MY CAR WITH ONE MISMATCHED TYRE?

Paul, I own a Toyota Premio 2004 model. After I accidentally damaged one of the wheels (tyre and rim), I temporarily replaced it with a slightly bigger wheel as I look for a similar rim and tyre to replace the damaged one. Is there any problem driving on one wheel with different size? I feel comfortable.

Meshac.

Hello Meshac, driving a car with one mismatched wheel (tyre and rim size) will affect your car handling during extreme or high speed manouvres, can cause loss of control as well as overwork the differential and suspension components as they work with different wheel speeds.

Mismatched tyres can lead to loss of vehicle control during hard braking or cornering as the different wheel sizes move at different speeds and confuse you anti-lock brake system as well as traction control system.

These systems are designed to enhance safety by passively assisting you to avoid skidding while performing extreme manouvers such as high speed cornering or emergency breaking.

They even prevent skidding and spinning out of control. The mismatched tyre can actually cause the car to skid or spin out of control. The differential is designed to allow your wheels to turn at different speeds in order to allow you drive around corners.

With a mismatched tyre, the differential and suspension will be working overtime which may lead to premature damage. Arrange to replace the damaged wheel with the same size rim and tyre as soon as possible.

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