Replacement Car Dash Parts Buying Guide

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Replacement Car Dash Parts Buying Guide

Many car dash parts will need replacing over the life of a vehicle. The dash is often exposed to long hours of sun and heat, which can cause fading and cracking, while changes in atmospheric conditions may warp or discolor the different elements. However, replacing old parts isn’t the only reason one might want to replace some elements of their dash.

Aftermarket options abound where a car’s dash is concerned, and many aftermarket manufacturers offer custom dash elements and fixtures. Some examples include brushed metal trim kits, burlwood dash panels, and advanced audio options.

Buyers can shop for car dash parts more efficiently by understanding the different names, functions, and options of the different parts available. Unfortunately, replacement car dash parts can be expensive to order new from the manufacturer. Instead, shoppers should consider looking for the parts they need online. Websites like eBay Motors provide a wide range of car dash parts at competitive prices.

Car Dash Parts

While those looking for a full dash replacement assembly are likely to be most interested in purchasing a kit, those looking for individual parts should be familiar with the different parts and options available to them. The different car dash parts can be organized into a few general categories, including gauges, switches, knobs, vents, and panels.


A car’s gauges are generally inset into the dash above the steering wheel, and measure the details of a vehicle’s operation for the driver. Gauges are generally either found in analog varieties, which feature a needle that swivels around a hub, or digital varieties, which offer a digital readout.


A properly operating speedometer is essential to safe and legal operation of a car, and any individual that suspects theirs is malfunctioning should strongly consider consulting a professional mechanic. Some of the most common problems found in speedometers include a speedometer that does not register speed changes or display erratic movement. Though the vast majority of speedometer gauges are manufactured in the analog style, digital options are increasingly common.


A car’s tachometer is used to measure the working speed of the engine at revolutions per minute, or RPMs. In a manual transmission vehicle, a tachometer is used to signal the driver when to shift gears up or down. As more vehicles feature automatic transmissions, they are primarily used as a litmus test to gauge the relative health of an engine. The most common problems in tachometers that require their replacement are electrical problems and poor calibration.

Fuel Gauge

A car’s fuel gauge measures how much fuel remains in a car’s tank. Because fuel gauges rely on components also found inside the gas tank, various gauge elements are likely to need replacing through the life of a vehicle. These gauges are sensitive to moisture and other changes in environmental conditions.

Temperature Gauge

A car’s temperature gauge measures the relative temperature at which an engine is operating, usually by checking the temperature of the engine’s coolant. It is important to safe vehicle operation, as an overheating engine will quickly wear itself out, and may be dangerous to the vehicle’s occupants. A car’s temperature gauge, like its fuel gauge, is usually relatively small.

Oil Pressure Gauge

The oil pressure gauge measures a car’s oil pressure. Maintaining correct oil pressure is imperative, as an engine running on oil pressure too low or too high may quickly be rendered unusable. Some oil pressure gauges are fitted with extra emergency lights to help warn drivers when oil pressure has reached critical levels.


A car’s knobs, sometimes called dials, are usually small, circular elements that turn to activate different car functions. Knobs are usually present both on the driver side dash and on the center dash. Most knobs can simply be popped on or off, making a swift replacement easy.

Headlight Knob

A vehicle’s headlight knob is used to activate a car’s headlights. In some cases, turning on a car’s headlights will also activate a car’s dash lights, or the knob may have an additional setting that activates a car’s high beams.

Dash Light Adjustment Knob

A dash light adjustment knob is used to adjust the relative brightness or dimness of the backlights used in the car’s dash. Not all cars feature a dash light adjustment knob, but those that do generally have it placed near the headlight knob.

Climate Control Adjustment Knobs

Some vehicles feature some of their climate-control options in knob form. A car’s driver or passenger can use these knobs to adjust the rate of air flow and temperature.

Switches and Buttons

Switches and buttons differ from knobs in that, rather than a radial turning function, they usually slide into position based on horizontal alignment or are depressed with a touch. Dash buttons and switches are most commonly used for various climate control options in a car.

Emergency Lights Button

A car’s emergency lights button overrides a car’s other lights to flash a car’s turning signals in tandem. This signals to other drivers that there is an emergency, and to adjust their own driving accordingly. Emergency lights can also be used to increase visibility during inclement weather conditions. The emergency lights button is usually located near the climate control functions or near the headlight adjustment knob.

Climate Control Switches and Buttons

Climate control switches and buttons activate and deactivate the various temperature and air flow settings in a car, and can do things like activate the A/C, fan, or defrost settings. One may also turn on the windshield defogger.

Fuel Door Release Switch

The fuel door release switch is generally located on the driver’s side of the dash, and when used opens the door to the fuel tank. Not all cars feature a fuel door release switch.

Trunk Release Switch

The trunk release switch, when it is located on the dash, is usually placed near the fuel door release switch. Employing it releases the lock mechanism for a car’s trunk. As with other switches, the trunk release switch is easy to replace.


Most cars have several vents, placed at intervals along the dash. It is not uncommon for dash vents to crack, fade, or stiffen with use or age. Replacement vents are usually easy to install, even for those with little to no mechanical experience. Vents are usually available in two different varieties: static and adjustable. Static vents are rigid, meant primarily to prevent particulates from entering through the air shaft, while adjustable vent varieties allow drivers and passengers to modify or control the direction and force of air flow.


A car’s dash panels, sometimes also known as the dash trim, are the smooth surfaces, usually manufactured in different plastics, that protect the spaces between knobs, switches, vents, and other equipment. A car’s dash panels are often modified with custom aftermarket options using an overlay kit, which snaps into place over an existing dash. Such aftermarket options may employ chrome, brushed metal, laser-cut metal detailing, burlwood or other hardwoods, or custom-fabricated plastics.

Dash Part Mount Types

Different dash parts can mount to the equipment behind the dash in a few different fashions. For a quick summary of the different dash mount types and how to identify them, look over the chart below.

Mount Type


Peg Mount

The back of the dash part features a socked meant to fit over a shaped peg

Screw Mount

The back of the dash part features a threaded socket meant to fit over a screw

Terminal Mount

The back of the dash part features plug terminals that connect behind the dash

When looking for a replacement car dash part, it is important to find out how the original part was mounted to the dash before purchasing a new one. This will prevent the purchase of any non-fitting parts.

Buying Car Dash Parts on eBay Motors

Buying car dash parts through eBay Motors is simple and efficient. To begin the search for the parts you need, first head to any eBay Motors page and locate the search bar. Click on the bar and type in the phrase that best describes the ideal part. Some examples include, "digital speedometer gauge," "replacement dash panel," and "dash overlay kit." Creating a general search will allow a buyer to view the maximum number of potential results, which can then be refined. Various eBay Motors tools allow shoppers to narrow down their results to view only those dash parts of a certain make, model, or price.

Contacting a Seller

In the event you see an item that looks promising, but require more information before coming to a decision, eBay Motors allows its users to communicate directly with an item’s seller. Simply locate and click the "Ask a question" link on the item’s listing page.


There are many different car dash parts that can be easily replaced. Gauges, switches, and knobs can all become faulty after being exposed to different atmospheric conditions, such as a humid environment, while some switches or knobs may break or pop off. The many gauges, switches, knobs, and buttons in a car’s dash can also be upgraded for more custom styling through various aftermarket options.

Some manufacturers and aftermarket vendors even offer dash parts in matching kits, which are generally more affordable than purchasing each individual element separately. Whether one is purchasing simple replacements for worn, outdated, or broken car dash parts, or looking to purchase custom aftermarket pieces, shopping online is an easy way to save time and money. Websites such as eBay Motors offer an improved selection of options compared to retail stores, and many shoppers can find the part they need at a bargain price.

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