Do Dashboard Covers Interfere with Airbags? (A must-read)


There are a lot of questions that drivers have when it comes to their car. One of the most common is whether or not dashboard covers interfere with airbags. Many people assume that they do, but there isn’t a lot of concrete evidence out there to support this claim.

In this article, we will explore the topic of dashboard covers and airbags in depth. We will look at both sides of the argument and try to conclude whether or not dashboard covers pose a risk to drivers and passengers.

Frankly, the question of whether dashboard covers interfere with airbags has a yes and no answer. By this, I mean if you install an appropriate dashboard cover it will not interfere with the car’s airbag. However, if your dashboard cover is inappropriate, it tends to interfere with your airbag.

In case you do not find an appropriate dashboard cover for your car’s dashboard, you can cut it out to fit your dashboard set-up properly.

It must be noted though that by law, dashboard covers should not interfere with a vehicle’s airbag. Just a side note, I want to point out that dashboard covers can also be called dash mats so do not get confused if I use them interchangeably in this article.

Benefits of dashboard covers

Some people argue that dash mats are not an essential accessory to have in your car. However, I beg to differ. It is necessary to have a dashboard cover in your car and here is why:

1. Protects the dashboard from sun damage

Just like the skin, the car’s dashboard suffers from dangerous ultraviolet rays from the sun. That means without the dash mat, you could or would be damaging your car’s dashboard especially if you usually park in a space where there is little to no shade.

Without dashboard covers, the dashboard will fade and develop fissures (cracks). This will eventually make it look less attractive and could potentially lower the resale value of your car. So, if you want to keep your dashboard looking new and fresh, invest in a dashboard cover.

2. Protects the dashboard from stains

Spills and stains can easily make the interior of a car messy. If you or other occupants of the car are in the habit of eating or drinking in the car, a dashboard cover can protect the dashboard from stains and spills if you leave your food in that area. 

The dash mat is easy to clean and may even be able to repel certain liquids and stains that would otherwise be difficult to remove from the dashboard.

3. Protects certain parts of the dashboard from dust

Dashboard covers can protect or reduce the entry of dust or other debris to some parts of the dashboard. These parts include the overall surface area of your dashboard and certain parts like the car’s speakers.

Some dashboard covers come with special features that make them effective in repelling dust. For example, a dashboard cover with an anti-static feature can help prevent the accumulation of dust on your dashboard.

4. Helps regulate the temperature in your car

In hot climates or during the summer, if you park your car under little or no shade (especially), once you get back into it, it will be hot in there. Having a dash mat may just help to absorb some of that heat.

Generally, dashboards are made of plastic, vinyl, or leather which quickly absorb and retain heat. Installing a dashboard cover, which is mostly made out of fabric, suede, velour, fleece, and other materials that lower heat retention helps to reduce the heat in your car.

There is a school of thought that says that you can just turn on your car’s air conditioning in that case. Fair enough. But if the interior of your car is hot, it will take a long while to get it to cool down with the scorching sun outside.

5. Dashboard covers help with glare and reflection

If you have installed a dash mat, it will help you combat glare and reflection in your car. Glare or reflection of the dash into the windshield can be a problem with some vehicles. The angle of the dash and glass and the sitting position of the driver, dash material, and color all contribute to creating glare.

A dashboard cover may help reduce that glare. This benefit elevates the safety of the driver and the other occupants of the car and makes driving more pleasant.

6. Dashboard covers are inexpensive

With the above-mentioned benefits, how awesome is it that dashboard covers are also cheap? You will not have to spend too much to get one and it will save your dashboard from some level of damage.

With just a few dollars, you can find a dashboard cover that will perfectly fit your car and dashboard. You can also find one that will complement the interior of your car. There are different types, colors, designs, materials, and features of dashboard covers in the market so there is one for you and your car.

7. Dash mats are easy to install

Though not a direct benefit in my view, it is so easy to install a dashboard cover in your car. It will be a Do-It-Yourself activity and you will not need to watch a ton of videos or read lots of instructions to be able to have one installed in your car.

There are dashboard covers that come with adhesive backing. You just need to clean the surface of your dashboard, remove the adhesive backing, and place it on your dashboard. For other dashboard cover types, you will need to use Velcro strips or some other type of fastener that comes with the product to fix it in place.

Do dash mats interfere with airbags?

Just as I mentioned earlier, dashboard covers can or cannot interfere with the car’s airbags. Notably, by law, nothing should interfere with the airbag of your car as it is a very crucial safety element in your car. 

If an airbag deploys and there is anything in its way, it will cause more harm. Dashboard covers are legally required to ensure they do not interfere with airbag operations. On the other hand, there are no legalities that stop you from buying a poor-quality and ill-fitting dashboard cover to save you some money.

The onus, therefore, lies on you to buy and fix an appropriate dashboard cover. Pick a dash mat that does not interfere with airbag deployment. A properly constructed, quality dashboard cover is designed to open or give way to the airbag so it does not harm you in the event of a car crash.

However, once you install an appropriate dashboard cover, be sure to desist from placing objects on the dashboard regularly or for long periods while driving.

This leads us to the next sub-topic…

What can be placed on a dashboard cover?

Let us assume you bought an appropriate dash mat. What are some of the things you can and cannot place on it to continually ensure your safety, especially when it comes to airbag deployment?

It cannot be overemphasized that placing your legs on the dashboard is a no-no. However, that is not an object so we will not talk about that.

Anyway, when you install an appropriate dashboard cover, you can easily fix a dashboard camera, which several people love to have in their cars. Also, a properly designed dash mat will still allow your speakers to function well even if they are covered.

Consequently, if you install an appropriate dash mat, what is the sense in placing objects on it which will hinder the airbag deployment?

Final thoughts

In conclusion, dashboard covers may or may not interfere with airbags. If you buy and install an appropriate dash mat, it should create an opening for your airbag so as not to block it. If you do not find an appropriate dash mat, you can always customize it to fit your car. 

Thus, bear in mind that an inappropriate dash mat hinders the deployment of an airbag and that should be avoided at all costs.

I hope this article was informative and answered your question on dashboard covers. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask in the comments section below. As always, drive safely!​”

Gideon Ansah Baffour

Hello, passionate reader My name is GIDEON BAFFOUR ANSAH. There are a lot of things in this world that I love. My family, my friends, dogs, video games, and of course – everything with engines. It has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. There is just something about them that makes me happy. I've been blazing up the trails and immersing myself in this wonderful hobby turned career and on this website, I'm excited each day to share everything I've learned and continue to learn a day in day out.

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