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Cleaning and Removal of interior trim on jeep wrangler with simple steps

The main purpose of the interior trim of your wrangler is to make the interior feel comfortable and provide a conducive environment for both the driver and other occupants of the car. So in this article, we’ll look into Cleaning and Removal of interior trim on jeep wrangler.

The interior trim comprises the door panels, dashboard, and centre console. Interior panels and seat covers are removable for rejuvenation and upgrading if the owner does not like the look of the interior trim. This is due to old age or just upgrading for the look of it.

Most Jeep Wranglers come with a basic interior trim of fabric-covered seats, plastic door panels, dashboard, and centre console. High spec wranglers such as the Rubicon come with leather bucket seats, leather steering wheel, and other soft-material interior trims.

But you can choose such an option on other wrangler models, especially if you are customizing from the factory website when buying your wrangler.  

Removing the interior trim is quite easy if you can get part by part. You should start with the dashboard and everything related to the dashboard, such as the infotainment system

How to remove the dashboard?

  • Disconnect the negative terminal on your battery as the dashboard has electricals that can lead to an electric shock. When the negative terminal is removed, there is no flow of current.  
  • Remove the window controller by prying it off the dashboard with hard thin plastic, then disconnect the electric wires attached. 
  • Removing the window controller will reveal a bolt underneath that opening, unscrew it, and put it in a safe place. Remove the dirt tray on the top of your dash by pulling it out. This will reveal two screws, unscrew them, and put them together with the first bolt you removed.  
  • Underneath the steering wheel, there is a panel. Slide your fingers into it and yank it out. That panel is secured only by clips, and there are no screws to unscrew. It might be hard to remove, but it will when enough force is applied.  
  • Unscrew the two bolts that are under the instrument panel and drop the steering wheel column. This allows you to remove the panel on the driver’s side, covering the centre console. 
  • The panel on the driver’s side is secured by snaps. When removing it, all you have to do is pull it out as it snaps straight in. then remove the smaller panel that houses the temperature and heater controls. Removing the wiring harnesses behind the panel that connects to the knobs.  
  • If you want to remove the infotainment system and the instrument panel, remove the screws revealed by removing the panels. Make sure to remove the wire harnesses behind each of these. Place them in a safe place where they cannot fall to avoid damage.  
  • For the glovebox, squeeze on both sides of while pulling it out. This will expose the panel above the glove box, slide your arm under it and pull it out.  
  • If you are reinstalling new dashboard panels, make sure they are made for the specific model that your wrangler is in to prevent an incorrect fitment. You can vacuum the exposed parts to removed clogged dust. Make sure you reconnect the electricals for each panel before you reinstall the new panels.
  • Some new panels come with electricals and while others do not. You have to unscrew the temperature control knobs and other knobs off the old panels and install them on the new panels.  

How to remove the steering wheel panel?

  • Remove the two bolts on either side of the steering wheel that holds the horn and airbag in place. Slowly pull off the horn and airbag and remove the electric wire harness on the back. Carefully carry and place the horn and airbag to a site where the unit cannot fall as it will trigger the airbag. 
  • Remove the exposed screws inside the steering wheel. There are other screws on the back of the steering wheel that you also need to remove. Pry off the steering wheel control panel with a plastic tool, and remove the wiring harnesses at the back of the panel. 
  • Replacement control panels come with controls, so you don’t have to reinstall the old controls. After reinstalling the steering wheel control panel and the screws, reinstall the airbag and horn. Reinstall the screws on the side of the steering wheel to hold the horn and airbag in place.  

How to remove the door panels?

  • Pull the interior door handle outwards and pry out the plastic inside slowly so that you do not break the plastic tabs. Remove the exposed screws and store them safely. Pry out the door handle panel, which also houses the door lock. When you remove it, the door handle and lock should remain on the door.  
  • Remove the plastic trim that is under the window control by prying it out. This exposes two screws that need to be removed for the panel to be free.  
  • Near the bottom of the door on the panel, unscrew any bolts that you find there. Check around the door panel if there are other screws. If there are no, pry the door panel off on the edges slowly while pulling it off and lifting it when you get to the top. 
  • Once the door panel is completely off, remove the wiring harness that connects to the lock and the window control. For some wranglers, you’ll find both harnesses, and in others, you’ll find one wiring harness. 
  • When reinstalling the door panel or installing a new one, install it by starting with the upper edge then press the panel onto the door to secure it into place. Ensure you have reconnected any electric harnesses before installing the door panel. 
  • Repeat this process for all doors as all of them have the same structure.  

How to remove the centre console?

Before doing this, ensure your wrangler is in park gear and have wheel arches on all four wheels. This is because you have to frequently move the handbrake when removing the centre console.  

Cleaning and Removal of interior trim on jeep wrangler
  • Remove the screws on all sides of the centre console. These screws are located on the surface, and they are pretty easy to find and remove 
  • Depending on your wrangler model, you can either remove the gear knob or leave it. This depends on the centre console opening if the gear knob goes through that opening. If the gear knob doesn’t fit in that opening, use a strap wrench to remove it.  
  • Pull your handbrake upwards and lift the centre console after completely removing the screws and the gear knob. You might find that it is secured onto the floorboard by clips. If that is the case, apply more force when pulling it up. 
  • Check for any wiring harnesses before completely removing the centre console.  

How to rejuvenate your wrangler’s interior trim?

Rejuvenating the interior trim is a good option if you can save some cash by not replacing it. A rejuvenation will leave your interior trim panels looking new, whether you decide to maintain the factory black colour or spray on a new one.

Thoroughly dust, clean and dry the plastic trims before you start working on them for the best results. Cover lettering on the switches or have lettering decals that you will use for the controls if the lettering gets covered with paint. Below are the two ways to rejuvenate your wrangler’s Interior Trim.

  • Use a heat gun 

By gently heating the panels using a heat gun, you heat the oils in the plastic, thus restoring the colour. Once you notice the colour getting brighter, move on to the next part, as excess heat will warp the plastic. This method can only be used a couple of times before oils in the plastic are diminished, and the plastic will turn grey. 

  • Use a vinyl restorer 

Spray the vinyl restorer onto the contact surface of the trims and spread it evenly using a microfiber cloth. Let the restorer settle for around 5 minutes. If you are not satisfied with the colour, repeat the spray and spread process again until you are happy with the colour.

Cleaning and Removal of interior trim on jeep wrangler

This is the best colour restoration method as the vinyl restorer leaves a protective coating on the trim. If you are looking for a more permanent solution, you can paint the interior trim. Some may opt to change the colour of the interior trim to match other aspects of the interior, while others just keep the black colour of the trim. 

Spraying the same colour paint on the trim 

  • Clean and dry the trim to prep it for sanding 
  • Sand the trim with gentle grit sandpaper to remove uneven patches of paint. Sometimes this is not necessary depending on the colour condition of the trim.  
  • Paint the first black coating on the trim and let it dry completely, then spray for the second time, leaving the trim looking new. Let it dry completely before installing it back on your wrangler.  

Spraying a different colour on the trim 

  • Completely clean and dry the trim. For this method, you have to sand the trim until it is entirely smooth and attains a greyish colour 
  • Spray the trim with a primer that bonds to the plastic, thus creating an adhesive surface for the paint to stick on and dry. 
  • Once the primer is dry, spray the colour of your choice and let it dry, then wet sand the trim gently, making sure not to peel off the paint. 
  • Dry the trim and spray another coating of the same paint colour and let it dry. If you don’t achieve the colour you’re aiming for, wet sand it again, dry and spray another coating. The third coating always brings out a good colour finish on the trim 
Cleaning and Removal of interior trim on jeep wrangler

After painting, you can spray a protective vinyl coating on the panels, which keeps the colour bright and protects from excess heat and sunlight. 

Conclusion 

Rejuvenating or upgrading your wranglers interior is a good choice if the interior looks worn out and discoloured. Excess sunlight and temperatures discolour the interior of your wrangler.

When parking your wrangler in hot temperatures, open the windows an inch and have a windscreen sunshade on your windscreen. Park on a shadowed parking area if there is one.