Image: plrautospa.comBy Frank Ling

If you’ve ever cleaned the interior of your car (and we hope that you have!) you’ve seen various products on the shelves of your favorite auto store that claim to protect and shine your car's dashboard, vinyl, and plastic parts.

But if you’ve done your homework on the Internet you’ve also seen a lot of discussion about how these “armor” type products can hurt your dashboard by cracking or drying it out.

Others say that the silicone in these sprays and wipes deteriorate the plastic in your dashboard and actually ages it faster. So is this really true or not?

Protectant 101

Most modern car protectant sprays contain silicone agents, UV protection formulas, cleaning surfactants, scent, shine enhancers, and other ingredients to help protect vinyl and plastic.

Not all protectant sprays and products are safe for your car. While some may add that new car shine to your interior, they may actually do more harm than good over time. So in these instances, the myth is true.

Bad and Good Silicone

Something that has been going around the Internet for years and says that silicone is bad for vinyl and plastics. Using silicone based products will dry and crack your dashboard over time, according to the reports.

But others stringently defend the use of silicone and say that using it really does protect vinyl, dashboards, and plastics.

It’s easy to understand why there is so much confusion and opposing views on this topic.

There are two types of silicone used in interior protectant sprays—DMS (dimethal silicone oil) which is very inexpensive to buy and PDMS (polydimethalsiloxane) which is a more expensive product.

Sprays containing DMS, the cheaper stuff, will destroy the protective covering that is embedded into the plastic of your dashboard. If the protectant looks and feels like baby oil, is clear, and is very shinny, stay away from it.

Sprays using PDMS, the expensive stuff, looks like watery milk and is slippery to the touch. These types of products often contain other ingredients to protect your interior car surfaces. Avoid products that have petroleum distillates in them as these will dry out your dashboard.

Some enjoy the glossy shine these products give while others do not. Some have reported that high glare can come off dashboards from the reflection of the sun.

So the next time you buy a spray protectant for the interior of your car, you’ll know which ones to buy.


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