While the dashboard panels of the Wrangler look good from the factory, you can always upgrade them with your own style. The main benefit of painting your dash trim is the custom look it gives your cabin.
Whether you choose your favorite shade or a contrasting accent color, it’ll look great. For perfect color-matching, you can even pick up a can of Mopar paint to match your exterior color. It’s as simple as contacting your local dealership to get the paint.
Painting the interior of your JK, JL Wrangler, or Gladiator is also pretty straightforward. It might be cheaper than you think too, as you’ll just need some basic tools and spray paint. We managed to complete our Jeep Wrangler interior paint job for $42!
Painting Your JL Wrangler’s Dash Trim
This whole project will only take about a day, including time spent waiting for paint to dry. Before you get started, make sure you have all the supplies you'll need. You might already have a lot of these in your garage, but anything you need should be affordable and easy to find. Don’t forget to paint in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling toxic fumes.
The video below outlines the process of painting the interior of a JL Wrangler. Since the dashboard is identical, this process applies to the Jeep Gladiator too. The JK Wrangler has a slightly different dash design. Check out the video at the bottom of this article for instructions on painting the JK Wrangler dash.
- Polymer trim removal tool
- Paint mask
- Eye protection
- Phillips head screwdriver
- 10mm socket
- 7mm socket
- 5.5mm socket
- Small TORX screwdrivers
- Spray paint
- 400-grit sandpaper
- Tack cloth
- Primer or adhesion promoter
Step 1: Disconnect Battery
Disconnect your battery any time you’ll be messing with your car’s electronics or working near the airbag. Since we’ll be taking off the part of the steering wheel that contains the airbag, that’ll be the first step.
Step 2: Remove Center Dashboard Piece
Use a plastic pry tool to remove the central climate control panel and disconnect the wires holding it in. Using a polymer tool instead of a metal one will prevent scratches to your interior panels.
You’ll hear the clips popping out as you remove the panels. This is normal and doesn’t mean you’re breaking something. Just make sure you’re using even pressure when taking each component out.
Step 3: Remove Screen’s Bezel
Remove the plastic piece surrounding the infotainment screen. This textured piece is held in at the bottom by two Phillips head screws. Be sure to safely store your hardware somewhere so you won’t lose it. All of the nuts, bolts, and screws will be reused during reassembly.
There are six plastic clips holding the bezel in place. If a clip gets stuck in the dashboard while you’re removing a panel, simply take it out and keep it with the piece.
Step 4: Take Out Infotainment Screen
Carefully remove the infotainment screen. This will keep it out of the way and prevent it from getting scratched. It will also expose a retaining screw that keeps the top panel of the dashboard on. There are four Phillips screws to remove, one in each corner.
Step 5: Remove Dashboard’s Top Panel
After taking out the screw behind the infotainment screen, you can pull the dashboard top panel out. This is easier to do with two people so you can keep even pressure across the entire panel. If you pull too roughly on one section, it’s possible that a clip could snap.
Step 6: Remove Gauge Cluster Surround
Remove the four screws and then pop out the clips to remove the panel. We’ll remove the vents later.
Step 7: Remove Screws on Top Passenger Side Panel
Remove the six Phillips screws across the top of the passenger side panel. There are several more steps before you’ll be able to remove the panel though.
Step 8: Remove Screws Behind Grab Handle
Remove the two screws behind the grab handle. Do so by popping off the airbag cover with a plastic pry tool. These can be a little tight. Underneath the grab handle and panel, you’ll find two screws to remove. A shallow 7mm socket wrench will help get them started.
Step 9: Take the Glovebox Out
Take the glovebox out by opening it, popping the side support arm off, and pushing on the plastic tab at the center of the back. This is necessary to get to the two screws hidden underneath the dash.
Step 10: Remove Bolts Above Glovebox
Remove the two exposed 13mm bolts underneath the dash to release the panel.
Step 11: Disconnect Airbag
Disconnect the yellow plug for the airbag before removing the actual panel. You’ll find it tucked in the upper-left side of the glovebox area.
Step 12: Remove Passenger Side Panel
Take the passenger side panel assembly out. It’s held in by clips, so you can pull it off using your hands.
Step 13: Remove Vents and Bezels from Dashboard Assemblies
Now that we’ve removed all the necessary assemblies, we can start taking out the parts we won’t paint. Remove the three screws holding in each of the vents, and remove the vents from the assemblies. Take out the chrome bezels.
Step 14: Prep Painting Space
Tape off the rear of the passenger panel to protect the airbag area from being painted. Find a well-ventilated area and lay down some material to paint on. Cardboard will work great.
Step 15: Sand and Clean Panels
Use some warm water and 400-grit sandpaper to sand down the two dash panels. This is where you want to spend the most time and care. It should feel gritty, and the black below may even begin to show through.
Give the panels a wipe down with some denatured alcohol. Afterward, use a tack cloth to remove any fine dirt or dust from the panels.
Tech Tip: Never use acetone to clean plastic as it could melt through it.
Step 16: Apply Primer
Apply some primer or adhesion promoter before you paint. Don’t forget to put your mask and eye protection on! This isn’t required, but we strongly recommend it.
Step 17: Paint Trim Pieces
Lay down some even coats of spray paint across the top. You can paint the gauge surrounds separately if you want. You can also paint them the same color or leave them unpainted. Add a gloss finish over top if desired.
Let everything dry fully, following the directions on the back of the can. If you’ve added clear coat, it’s best to let it sit overnight. We recommend doing so regardless, just to be safe.
Step 18: Reassemble Dash
Perform steps 1-13 in reverse, putting all the panels and clips back in the proper places.
Painting a JK Wrangler Dashboard
If you have a JK Wrangler, you can watch the video below for painting instructions. The process is similar, but not quite identical.
Enjoy Your Custom-Painted Interior
Now you can enjoy your uniquely painted dash panels. Hopefully you’ve achieved the look you want. This is a project that will make you smile every time you enter your 4x4. Not to mention it will be a great upgrade to show off to your trail buddies.