By Averi Melcher - January 17, 2020
There’s something about an open road that really gets you going. The way it represents unbridled possibility, the way it can deliver you to unexpected places, the way you often lose service and don’t have to respond to unwanted text messages… it’s all there. But there’s something about an off-roading trip that’s even better. You can tackle uncharted territory and get a dose of adrenaline that will carry you through next Wednesday.
Off-roading in a Prius isn’t going to cut it. You need a vehicle that can handle the bumps, jumps, and weather-filled conditions you’re bound to encounter along the way. And you need to protect that vehicle and its interior at all costs (lest you can’t go on any more weekend adventures). A dash mat (also called a dash cover) is one way to stop your exciting weekend habit from wreaking havoc on your dashboard and your rig’s overall resale value.
Common Off-Roading Hazards You Need to Arm Against
You spend a lot of time preparing your tires and suspension for an off-roading adventure. Your car’s exterior is ready to handle everything from rocky terrain to torrential rain. But there are a few other hazards at play, and it’s easy to forget some of them — especially the ones that impact your vehicle’s interior.
- Bouncing Gear — As you sail across a mud-filled national park or untended desert terrain, your stuff is bound to bounce around. Not everything in your cab has a seat belt. The corner of a sandboard hits your dash one time — and you could have permanent damage on your hands. Custom dash mats offer added protection.
- Dust — Driving around with the windows down is all fun and games until you finally put it in park and look around to see how much dust and debris has collected everywhere. Do you have a plan for keeping off-roading dust and dirt out of the crevices and off your original interiors?
- Extreme Temperatures — Your dash can fade, crack, and shrink in the face of super hot temps and harmful UV rays over a long period of time. Same with floor mats, seats, your steering wheel and any plastic or leather accessories. It’s important to choose mats and other amenities that are specifically designed to handle really hot and very cold conditions.
- Spills — Your sports drink cantina is going to fall out of the cup holder at some point. Are your floor mats up to the challenge? Look for deep treads and materials designed to be temperature resistant.
- Sudden Weather — You’re riding in your Jeep across a muddy river bed and you’ve got the windows down. Sounds like heaven, no? Not so much when a sudden rainstorm or gust of wind brings water and leaves flying into the car. You’ll be happy to have your seats covered and a dash mat in place.
How Dash Mats Protect Your Interior
OK, now that we’ve considered all the ways off-roading can damage your interior, let’s dive into what you can do about it. Dash mats are one important way to protect the inside of your car when you’re off-roading. Here are three of the main reasons we recommend a dash cover to anyone who wants to leave paved roads behind in favor of a more unpredictable off-the-beaten-path adventure. Your new dash cover will:
- Trap Dust — If you try to wipe down your interior after an off-roading trip, you might be shocked at all of the places that dirt and debris have nestled. If you could hose down your interior, you would, but you’ll be stuck using paper towel after paper towel to collect desert dust. A dash mat, on the other hand, traps a lot of dust in its fibers. Plus, it can be taken off your dash, cleaned outside the car, then quickly reinstalled.
- Protect Against UV Rays — One of the other great risks of going off road under the sun is that your seats and your dash will fade and crack under the scorching sun. And powerful UV rays lead to more than discoloration. They can also make your dash so hot that the corners start to curl or the material cracks. A dash mat keeps your original dash safe from fading and sun damage.
- Stop Dents, Scratches and Stains — Remember when we said your gear will fly around during off-roading? We’re guessing you already have a few stories about your coffee canister flying toward the windshield or your headlamp slamming against the dash. A new dash cover absorbs the shock of an occasional hit and keeps your factory dash dent free.
Tips for Choosing the Right Dash Mat
How do you know you’re getting the right dash mat for your off-roading Jeep or other 4-wheel drive vehicle? It’s all about going for the right materials, size, and fit. Then, add the features that mean the most to you (such as thermoformable backing and or installation fasteners). Here are some ways we’d shop for the same thing:
- Look for a Custom Cut –– Some dash covers have a universal fit, meant to cover most vehicles within a certain size class or make. And then there are custom dash mats, which adhere to the exact design of your vehicle. These dash mat covers are ideal because they ensure that your A/C ventilation, sensors, air bags, and other key car amenities are accounted for. Your vents won’t end up covered and your dash airbags can still deploy.
- Make Sure the Mat Will Stay Put — Since you’re going to be bouncing up and down on your off-roading trip, you need a mat that won’t slip and slide. The right dash mat for off-roading has secure fasteners or other Velcro tabs to stay where it belongs, no matter what.
- Put a Premium on Fade Resistance — A dash mat that’s protecting a car spending most of its time in the garage doesn’t need to count fade resistance among its super powers. When you’re going to be off-roading under the desert sun or in a national park, on the other hand… you want a mat that can take the beating sun without changing shades.
Top Rated Dash Mats on AutoAnything
Our customers know what they’re doing. They include daily commuters, weekend road trippers, and off-roaders like you. When it comes to our custom dash mats, we trust their opinions. And we think you should, too. Here are eight of the dash covers that are most highly rated by our real customer reviews.
- Dash Designs Carpet Dashboard Cover
- Dash Designs Suede Dashboard Cover
- DashMat Carpet Dashboard Cover
- Dash Designs Velour Dashboard Cover
- Coverking Molded Carpet Dash Cover
- Dash Designs DashTex Custom Dashboard Cover
- Coverking Velour Dash Cover
- DashMat Ltd. Edition Dashboard Cover
Are you ready for your next off-roading adventure? If you haven’t upgraded your interior, you’re not. It’s important to make sure your tire and transmission can handle the heat of an off-road weekend, sure. But don’t forget about your seats, floors, and dash. Preventing heat-related cracking and stains keeps your vehicle in better condition and may even have some safety benefits. Our custom dash mats prevent harmful glare that typically makes it harder to see when you’re driving. And, when you buy your next dashboard cover from AutoAnything, you’re always covered by our Price Match Guarantee. That means if you find a better price on the same dash cover within one year of purchase, we’ll beat it by $1! That’s more money for camping gear. Or beer. Or, whatever.