15

I have a 2008 Toyota Camry, which is primarily kept in Florida (southern U.S.).

My entire dashboard has been sticky / tacky for years. I do not know why or how it got this way. It accumulates dust and grime, and I have no way to properly clean it since all towels and cleaning cloths, unless extremely wet, get caught on it, and then it accumulates fibers from the cleaning cloths. If I press into the dashboard with my finger, it retains a fingerprint. I can easily cleave a piece off with my nail. It has been this way since at least a year after I bought the car, and the Toyota dealership I brought it to insisted that it was my fault, and that I must have used some sort of corrosive cleaning solution on the dashboard, but I hadn't. Some Windex, perhaps, but that shouldn't harm a dashboard, otherwise it'd be common knowledge by now!

  1. How / why did this happen?
  2. How can I repair it without replacing the entire dashboard?
  3. How should I be cleaning it?

Photo - note the shiny (tacky to the touch) dashboard and accumulated dust.

Example of stickiness/shininess

Photo - note the dangerous nighttime glare created by the shiny dashboard. Glare also exists under direct sunlight, and is much worse.

Example of shiny dashboard at night

  • Have you tried an aloha like based cleaner/wipe? No clue what it is other than if you put extreme amounts of Armour All on there. If all else fails you could put a dash pad on there to cover it ... Just saying. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Dec 17 '14 at 1:22
  • @Paulster2 - did you autocorrect "alcohol"? – JoshDM Dec 17 '14 at 13:27
  • That's a good ole iPad for you, lol! Yes, supposed to be "alcohol", lol :D – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Dec 17 '14 at 16:34
  • @Paulster - Are you suggesting it is due to an alcohol-based cleaner, or are you suggesting I should try one to clean it? Are you suggesting it might be from using Armor-All, or are you suggesting I use Armor-All to clean it? Thanks. It is possible I used Armor-All at one time. – JoshDM Dec 17 '14 at 16:44
  • I was curious if the Armor-All type coating was used excessively. I'm suggesting you try an alcohol based wipe or cleaning solution to try and cut through the goo. You may also try something called "Goo Gone" ... but any method you try, you may want to try it on an inconspicuous area so as your don't have a big ugly spot in the middle of your dash if things don't work out so well. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Dec 17 '14 at 16:49
11

MAJOR UPDATE - TOYOTA WARRANTY EXTENSION FOR "STICKY DASHBOARDS"

Today ( 12/29/2014 ) I received in the mail a Warranty Enhancement Notification regarding my Toyota. Complete coincidence that I received this a few weeks after I posted the original question.

A relevant December 18th, 2014 article from a consumer investigator regarding this issue.

Important excerpts from my Warranty Enhancement Notification include:

This program will extend the warranty coverage for repairs related to cracked and/or sticky/melting Dashboards (Instrument Panels) as a result of heat or humidity on 2003-2005 model 4Runner, 2005-2010 model year Avalon, 2007-2011 model year Camry and Camry Hybrid, 2004-2010 model year Sienna, and 2004-2008 model year Solara vehicles.

Dashboards can become cracked and/or sticky/melted over time for a number of different reasons and under a number of different circumstances. If the Dashboard has become cracked and/or sticky/melted as a result of heat or humidity, the repair will be performed at no charge as soon as parts become available.

Primary Coverage offers warranty enhancement described herein for all owners until May 31, 2017, regardless of mileage or date of first use of the vehicle.

Secondary Coverage supplements the Primary Coverage for some owners by offering the warranty enhancement described herein for 10 years from the date of first use of the vehicle, regardless of mileage.

... coverage is for warranty work performed for the covered Dashboards and must be performed at an authorized Toyota dealer only.

If you have previously paid for repairs to address any {qualifying} Dashboard, mail a copy of repair order, proof-of-payment, and proof-of-ownership to address for reimbursement consideration:

Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.
Toyota Customer Experience, WC 10
19001 South Western Avenue
Torrance, CA 90509

Original, December 17th, answer follows

I discovered the following during research after I posted the question.

Searching online against "Toyota Camry Sticky Dashboard" returns many very specific results, including videos. There are many reports of Toyota Camry vehicles (standard, hybrid, and other variants) from the 2007-2009 year range producing a sticky dashboard, which eventually transforms into a shiny, reflective surface, which creates a definite driving safety hazard, obstructing the driver's view.

Per Hawaii News Now, Toyota's stance is the original warranty only. As this tackiness of the dashboard seems to happen more often after 3 years, once the warranty has ended, and since there is no recall program, many owners are out of luck.

What can a consumer do? Concerned U.S. consumers can file a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) with an emphasis on (1) the stickyness of the dashboard, and (2) the shiny/reflective surface the dashboard creates, as a safety hazard. Reviewing the NHTSA complaints reveals multiple submissions regarding this specific issue; perhaps if there are more submitted, the NHTSA will investigate and prompt a recall.

Otherwise, I cannot recommend how to repair the surface.

Feb. 19, 2016 UPDATE: Of note, I have been on a waiting list to have this repaired for over a year; my local dealer claims that Toyota has not yet shipped any replacement dashboards, but I find this hard to believe.

April 2016 UPDATE: One year and four months after getting the warranty extension, my local dealer finally received dashboards and replaced mine. It looks fine now; no issues, no stickiness. Now if only they'd address the poor leather stitching, the degrading ceiling fabric, the disintegrating steering wheel, and the interior black paint chipping off the power window buttons. I'm never buying a Toyota again.

January 2017 UPDATE: They replaced the cracking dashboard of my wife's Solara convertible, which was also under the recall. Unlike my dashboard, hers has a very funky smell, as though someone had smoked several packs of cigarettes around it. The dealership assured us this is normal and will fade over time.

  • I have the same thing in my 2008 Camry Hybrid, but I never received notification from Toyota. It really wasn't until now, 10 years after I bought it, that it the stickiness aspect is bothering me. But it was so nice to find this answer at least I know how it came about. – demongolem Jun 19 '18 at 23:45
  • @demongolem - contact your local dealer immediately and see if they will replace it under the recall; it may still qualify. – JoshDM Jun 19 '18 at 23:56

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.