How to Fix a Sagging Headliner

How to Fix a Sagging Headliner

Is there anything worse than driving a car while being annoyed by a sagging headliner touching your head? It’s inevitable with some makes and models of car or truck; you’re going to have to repair that headliner eventually.

And while there’s not any danger of a mechanical breakdown if you don’t repair
it, the sagging headliner becomes a distraction while driving you just don’t need.
There are several ways of getting that done. Some ways are easy, some are hard. But each way mentioned can work. Pick the method that works for your situation and your skill level.

Headliner Basics:

What is a headliner? It’s the fabric that covers the ceiling inside your vehicle. Before they start sagging, headliners are essentially a layer of foam and a layer of fabric on top, adhered to the “roof” inside your vehicle.

A sagging headliner or drooping headliner is often caused by an excess of heat, which weakens the glue holding the whole thing in place. That is why it can be a good idea to crack open a window when your car is parked in direct sunlight. Window tinting may also be a good idea since it can reduce the thermal transfer into the vehicles from the window glass.

Fixing Your Sagging Headliner Using A Syringe

Fill a syringe with glue and poke it through the headliner but do not penetrate the foam underlayer. Squirt the glue in as wide a spray pattern as possible. Don’t apply too much pressure and push out too much glue at once–doing so will often cause the glue to leak through the headliner fabric and leave splotches.

You can try using a roller to even out the flue and make sure the headliner stays flat when you finish. This repair method is most helpful when there’s a small spot that needs to be repaired and you don’t have to tackle re-gluing the entire thing.

Readjust The Headliner By Removing Hardware

You may be able to fix the sagging problem by removing interior hardware that helps secure the headliner when things are normal — you may be able to adjust the trim around a sunroof, grab handles, overhead lights, sun visors, rubber door/window trim, etc.

Remove any hardware you can to reveal the rough edges of the material. Then use a syringe, long flat blade, or a can of cloth adhesive spray glue. Spray it between the material and foam and use a roller.

Remove The Entire Headliner

Another approach is to remove the entire headliner out of the car, but this is a fairly complicated task. Cars with hatches, lift gates, or tailgates make it easy to drop pull out the headliner through the back of the car.

Cars with “separate” trunks can be more challenging. Some car owners may have a perfectionist streak — if you want the car to look closer to new and don’t want to deal with the issue again next year, this method might be for you.

Heat and Re-Glue

A sagging headliner can be caused when the original glue has dried completely out and starts to separate from the foam. You can heat and re-vitalize the glue using a heat gun, but be sure to keep the vehicle well ventilated to avoid fumes.

The Staple Gun Method

This technique isn’t elegant, but it gets the headliner reattached and hanging closer to the way it’s supposed to. The idea is to staple the headliner material back into the foam. Buy a lot of staples because a really saggy headliner may take a lot to fix — you may find yourself stapling every five inches. Two minutes later, you can sit back and admire your work.

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2 Comments

  1. Leigb says:

    Upholstery (slip cover) pins are prettier than staples. You’ll need to pierce small holes in the card layer above the foam to get them through. I used a dental pick, but any small rigid sharp object would work.

  2. Leigh says:

    Name corrected

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