By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm
We all have an office with a view and that view is constantly changing. The scenery below that view can be changed by dressing it up a bit. There are many things you can do to customize your dash, beginning with switching out the stock yellow and red brake knobs with anything from carved wood to engraved colored to molded plastic ones that have your branch of military emblazoned on them.
There are many choices, many price ranges and many options for company drivers as well as owner operators, small changes that can be made without damaging the truck so that when you get a new truck, provided you keep the original parts, you can put it back in the same condition you received it in and take your pieces with you into the next truck.
1. There are a huge variety of bezels (rings of different shapes and sizes formed and molded to fit around existing pieces) to choose from, for everything, from the gauges to the turn signals. They come in chromed out plastic or metal, flat or visored, shiny or colored. There are also name plates available, colored and engraved in different fonts that fit inside the bezels and cover a small portion of the gauge, if you so desire, that dress it up and identify them giving the entire space added personality.
2. You can add switch extensions to all those toggles along the dash, ones that even have jeweled ends on them if that suits your taste, or just an anodized finish if you prefer, the choices are, once again, almost endless. If you have a newer model truck, one that doesn’t have those types of switches, but has rocker switches instead, there are a number of options for those as well. There are covers designed specifically for the switches on each particular model truck, you just need to ask.
3. There are a variety of custom wood, stainless and plastic pieces available for the glove box and other areas of your dash that you can get and install without doing ANY damage to the truck, so all of you company drivers CAN do some customization without putting your job in jeopardy. It’s entirely possible for any driver to make that dash shine, and on any budget!
4. You can also purchase, and have installed, beautiful steering wheels that are available in many different materials. They come in wood, aluminum, plastic, and again, there are many options, limited only by imagination, style and budget. You can buy a steering wheel cover and install it on any steering wheel, possibly with a few modifications. But a steering wheel change is also not a permanent change, so it can be done to a company truck, with permission, of course, and then returned to stock condition before you leave that truck. The covers are a great option for all you drivers who are unable to change the wheel itself, they too come in all kinds of fabrics, materials, colors, prints, even furry finishes if that’s what you enjoy.
The possibilities are truly endless for customizing your dash, it all is up to you. It makes no difference if you own the truck or drive it for someone else, it is your office, the place you spend most of your waking hours on any given day so it only makes sense that you would want to personalize it a bit, put your own stamp on it.
5. If you own your truck you can actually paint the dash pieces that are black or wood-look from the factory to match the exterior of your ride. If you don’t own it a good option for you would be to install a removable shelf paper to the surface, much like you would apply wallpaper to walls in a house. This has a sticky back, but not a permanent application so that it will peel off easily when you get ready to switch trucks. You need to always keep that in mind when you are driving someone else’s equipment.
Remember, when you are dressing up your truck, whether you own it or someone else does, do not damage it when doing the customizing, it isn’t necessary. If you are replacing parts either keep the original ones so you can put them back before trading or expect, up front, to let your investment in the new parts go with the truck. If you are a company driver, make sure to respect the truck you are assigned, don’t make any changes that involve cutting, drilling or gluing things that cannot be easily removed without damaging the vehicle.
Stay safe out there & Keep It Shiny!
Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.