Tips on cleaning gauge faces

April 1, 2008 | By Richard Prince


I am working on a 1965 Dodge Coronet 440 convertible and I recently had the dash plastic re-chromed.

I was going to reassemble the dash but I thought it would be a good time to perk up the black background with the yellowing white letters on my speedometer and possibly the other faded black gauge areas as well.

The fading isn’t too noticeable so I don’t want to spend the money for a pro job, but I thought maybe a little cleanup was in order since it may be the only time I am ever into my dash this far. Any suggestions for me?


If the black background and white numerals on your speedometer and other gauges look slightly tired because they are dirty, then it is a relatively simple matter to clean them off.

I have successfully used Pledge (the furniture care product from SC Johnson that’s available at any supermarket) to clean gauge faces.

If there are stubborn stains or dirt that Pledge doesn’t remove you should try Afta, which is a relatively mild petroleum based solvent that doesn’t normally leave any residue or harm paint or other surface finishes. But, as always, it is a good idea to try Afta on a small, hidden area of the part to make sure there will be no ill effects.

If your gauge faces are clean but still dingy looking because the surface paint is faded and the numbers are yellowed, cleaning will not make them look better. The only good solution then is to refinish the gauge faces.

And if the gauge faces need to be restored...


Can you help me locate a company to restore my dashboard instruments? The car is a 1968 Olds Cutlass 442.


APT Instruments ( - Humboldt Ave. South, Bloomington, MN 55431) and D&M Restoration ( - 46 Grand Avenue, Greenville, SC 29607) are two companies with a lot of experience restoring collectible car instruments.