ES330 Shrinking Dash/Airbag cover - ClubLexus - Lexus Forum Discussion


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ES330 Shrinking Dash/Airbag cover

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Old 09-28-12, 03:44 PM   #1
Fritz2012
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Question ES330 Shrinking Dash/Airbag cover

Hi,
I have a 2006 and am very concerned about the safety of my dash. It seems like the dash is shrinking around the airbag cover. I am afraid that if the dash continues to shrink and the cover pops off, the airbag will be deployed for no apparent reason and put me in a dangerous situation.
I went to the local dealership who says that this shouldn't happen, however they won't put it in writing nor guarantee it. Since the vehicle is out of warranty, they say they are not liable. However, I was offered 50% reimbursement for a new dashboard - total replacement cost @ $2200!
I don't think I should be held liable for a vehicle that is a potential danger. More importantly, I want a guarantee that the airbag will not deploy if the cover pops off.
A few others I know are experiencing the same situation with the dash although it appears that my shrinkage is worse. Anyone else having an issue with this?
Attached Thumbnails
ES330 Shrinking Dash/Airbag cover-img_2554.jpg   ES330 Shrinking Dash/Airbag cover-img_2556.jpg  

Last edited by Fritz2012; 09-28-12 at 04:28 PM. Reason: picture attachments
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Old 09-28-12, 03:58 PM   #2
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A picture of the entire dash and a close up of whats happening specifically would be very helpful.

Everything else aside, you can definitelly find plenty of Good condition Dash Assemblies at your local pick-n-pull!
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Old 09-28-12, 04:24 PM   #3
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The rest of the dash is fine; its the area around the cover. sorry that the pix are so big (not too great at this computer stuff)
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Old 09-29-12, 11:03 AM   #4
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So is the air bag cover shrinking? I wouldn't worry about it, it won't pop off. For the air bag to pop off it has to receive signal from the sensor. Sensor won't be set off unless you have a front end collision.
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Old 09-29-12, 04:21 PM   #5
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Default the dashboard has shrunk`

Basically thats what I am interested in knowing. I don't want to be driving then suddenly have an airbag deploy for no reason. But why wouldn't Lexus simply state this with assurance? Even when I spoke with the customer satisfaction people, I couldn't get reassurance.

I have to admit that I have owned various cars for 40 years and never have I encountered a shrinking dash.....
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Old 09-30-12, 11:41 AM   #6
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Shrinking dash is normal with age. Dash is made of vinyl and vinyl will shrink over time as it dries out.
You could simply get air bag off of ebay and install one that's has cover in better shape.
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Old 10-01-12, 07:13 AM   #7
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Don't fret. You are ok. I had a 2004 ES330 and upgraded to a 2006 ES330. I bought both cars used. Both cars eventually displayed the same shrinkage you have there. So I would imagine it is a common issue. If you replace it for aesthetics, it will probably just shrink all over again so keep that in mind.

Honestly the fact that this issue happens under relatively low mileage (<100k) and is common should be reason for Lexus to compensate its customers (recall, severe discount, free replacement, etc.) but it has not.
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Old 10-01-12, 03:38 PM   #8
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Common issue on the 330 (2004-2006)
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Old 10-01-12, 04:27 PM   #9
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Shrinkage is probably due to the heat of the sun on your vinyl dash. You should consider using a reflective front window shade, such as Heatshield, when the car is parked in the sun. I got mine for my 2002 ES from http://www.heatshieldstore.com/ It really does protect the dash.
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Old 10-02-12, 09:07 AM   #10
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An 02 model is not really a fair comparison. I think Megafast13 is correct in identifying the model years that have the dash issues. My wife also has a 2002 ES300 with no tint and her dash has no warping at all. I'm also pretty sure she doesn't leave her windows cracked very often. My 04 and 06 both had tinted windows which should let less heat in and the dash still warped.
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Old 10-02-12, 06:10 PM   #11
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Default Common problem?

MegaFast, how do you know this is a common problem?
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Old 08-02-13, 07:08 PM   #12
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Default Dash Shrinkage at Air Bag Cover

I have a 2006 ES 330 that had similar shringage at top edge of air bad cover. Dealer replaced the dash at 35,000 miles under warranty. I now have 84,000 miles and I have the same condition except worse. The dealer has refused to replace on the basis it is out of warranty. Lexus is investigating to determine if they can do anything. This looks to me like a dash board is a wear and tear item needing replacement every 40,000 miles....Not good! My car is garaged and clearly low mileage. I believe this is a safety issue with the airbag even though the dealer has said the air bag won't deploy...
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Old 08-02-13, 11:51 PM   #13
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That's why you should use dash protectant along with sunshades, but it's too late for that air bag cover now. As vinyl dash dries out it becomes harder, shrinks and cracks. Using dash protectant with uv block would help
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Old 08-03-13, 08:41 AM   #14
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I have seen this on many ES330s. I would guess this is normal.
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Old 08-04-13, 07:06 PM   #15
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The airbag section of the dash in my car looks exactly like that. My car originally came from Texas, I bought it in '10, but fortunately I don't think it's gotten any worse. I religiously use a car shade when it's parked outside, even in the winter.

There's no way the airbag will suddenly deploy from this condition. Keep in mind that there are many safeguards in place on these airbag systems, and several conditions must be met before the bag is fired. At the least, there must be a person in the passenger seat, and their seatbelt has to be fastened. The car has to be decelerating at an extreme rate (very high G forces), and it must detect a collision in the front bumper. There's probably some other conditions that all must be true before the system fires the bag explosive gas. It does all of this in a split second.

I still think Lexus makes one of the best cars on the road overall, and they are a great value. But this cracking dashboard issue is very disturbing. Not that they are cracking, but more that Lexus is ignoring it and telling owners that it's not a defect. I was very interested in a GX to replace our Highlander soon, but the dash cracking issue is a deal breaker for me.
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