The car dash is a good place to mount a GPS, smartphone, radar detector, camera or small tablet. In some cases, it’s the only option you may have. In a prior article, we discussed a few states where mounting anything to your windshield is illegal leaving your dash the only logical place to mount a device that needs to see what is in front of you (for example a camera or radar detector). The dashboard is a good place to mount anything that needs to remain near your line of site while driving.
The key components of a good dash mount are stability and fit. Some vehicles have a significantly sloped windshields which means that the real estate is somewhat limited in terms of height. Measure the amount of space available height-wise and then measure the device you are wanting to mount. Stability is also an important factor. When stopping short or making a quick turn, you do not want your device along with the mount in your lap, so think about how you drive, the slope of your dash, and if you need a mount that needs to be fastened to the dash.
There are four types of dash mounts that we will discuss in this article. Some are permanently installed with adhesive and others are temporarily installed.
The least expensive of all dashboard mounts is called a dash disk and work in conjunction with your suction cup mount. This dashboard mount consists of a round plastic plate with an adhesive bottom. The plastic plate is smooth like your windshield and your suction cup mount will stick to it like glass. Get a mount that uses 3M Very High Bond adhesive also known as VHB, Personal experience has shown that anything else will come off with repeated use. Be sure to allow 24 hours for the adhesive to cure prior to use and make sure the dash is clean prior to application. A major drawback to this type of mount is that it’s fairly permanent. We offer some advice on how to remove one of these mounts in another article. Similar mounts are also available that use a 3M VHB base and a custom attachment for items such as a GPS or Radar Detector.
The next type of mount is a bean bag friction mount. That’s what we show in the photo that accompanies this article. These mounts typically weigh approximately two pounds and feature a non skid bottom. We have reviewed a few of these mounts in prior articles which you can read here and here. We prefer the Arkon version of these mounts for two reasons. Firstly, the mount is universal. Like the mounting plate we just highlighted, this friction mount has a round mounting plate integrated which works along with your suction cup mount. This mount also features a safety anchor to help keep the mount in place with sudden stops and turns. The mount can be easily removed and installed.
The third type of mount is one which is known as a sticky base mount and features a sticky base that works on textured dashboards. No glue required. These mounts have a suction cup that is made of a material that allows it to be easily installed and removed. When the base loses its sticking ability, simply rinse it in warm soapy water to recharge it. These mounts are available with universal cradles and custom adapters for your application. I have used these with GPS units and radar detectors and they have worked well. The key is to ensure that your dash is clean prior to application and that the base is fully charged by washing it prior to attachment. These mounts can be easily removed and installed however I have found with repeated use the base loses its sticking ability and you need to wash it between uses.
The last dash mount that we will discuss is a flat surface bolt down mount. These mounts are very heavy duty and normally used in commercial vehicles. These mounts feature a base with pre-drilled holes which you will run bolts through. Obviously, a permanent install and one that will require a permanent modification to your vehicle in the form of drilling holes and using bolts. These mounts are normally constructed of metal and used when you need a very durable hold on your device. These mounts can be fitted with locking knobs or cradles. I have seen these used in applications where the driver was using a tablet for delivery instructions and GPS purposes. They are often paired with a locking cradle which we have discussed in a prior article here on this site.