There’s nothing like cruising down the highway in your car, be it alone or with friends. Your favorite song is playing, the wind is in your hair, and the road seems to stretch on with offers of freedom and adventure. Everything is great! Then something brushes against the top of your head. Maybe you see a bulge of sagging fabric when you check your blind spot.
Either way, your car’s lining is coming loose, and you need a solution. This is not a problem you want to ignore. If left alone, the lining will continue to fall and will eventually require replacement if you don’t fix it in time. Fortunately, this problem is an easy one to fix. Read on to discover how to tackle your car headliner repair.
What is Car Roof Lining?
Your car roof lining, also called headlining or a headliner, is the soft material along the inside of your car’s roof. This lining is made of a variety of materials but primarily consists of a layer of foam covered with fabric. Headliners can vary as much as the cars you find them in, ranging from simple cloth coverings to headliners including elaborate LED displays.
Regardless of what kind of headliner your car has, it serves the same basic purposes:
- Improving the aesthetic quality of the vehicle
- Insulating sound
- Regulating temperature
The first one is a bit obvious. It’s much nicer sitting in a car with a soft, smooth headliner rather than an ugly fiberglass shell. Moreover, different colors, textures, and lighting effects can enhance your car’s appearance and add to its individuality.
In addition to appearance, your car headliner also affects the way things sound inside the vehicle. Whether it’s your favorite song or important navigation directions from your passenger, you need to be able to hear what’s going on inside the car. The headliner improves the vehicle’s acoustics to improve sound quality inside while keeping all the noise of the road on the outside.
Finally, the headliner acts as an additional barrier to external temperatures. This is particularly important in warmer weather when the sun is beating down on the car’s metal exterior. Things can heat up very quickly, so the additional protection offered by the car headliner can significantly contribute to keeping the inside of the vehicle comfortable.
Reason for a Car Headliner Repair to be Needed
All car parts will eventually wear out, and the headliner is no exception. The most common reason cars require a headliner repair is simply the adhesives wearing out over time. As the glue breaks down, the fabric starts to separate from the shell in what is known as sagging.
Extreme heat and humidity will cause a headliner to wear out earlier than one that is kept cool and dry, but if you keep your car long enough, chances are good you’ll experience sagging at some point.
How to Repair Car Headliner
Even though headliner sagging can be inevitable, you want to address it right away when it happens. Otherwise, the weight of the fallen fabric can start to pull on the intact liner, causing the damage to spread.
⚠️ In cases of extreme sagging, the police may even pull you over due to concerns about visibility.
Worry not! There is a wide range of options for headliner repair. The extent of the damage as well as your car’s value will likely determine how much you want to invest in the headliner. However, even an older car will benefit from headliner repair, and it can be quicker and easier than you might expect.
If your car headliner is only sagging a little bit or mostly around the edges, glue is the best option. It’s simple to use. Just scrape off any remaining bits of the original adhesive, apply your glue to the inside of the headliner and the foam beneath it.
The most important thing to remember about this method is that you need to purchase a spray-on glue, preferably one made specifically for headliner repair. Some people recommend hot glue, but it can provide inconsistent results, and in the case of thinner headliners, hot glue can make things worse. Normal glue, or school glue, won’t be strong enough. Stick with the spray-on.
2. Double-sided Tape
Double-sided tape is another good solution if your car headliner is sagging around the edges. You’ll need to clean any debris from the foam of the headliner so that the tape will stick to it. Then just firmly press into place.
Like with using glue, you’ll need to purchase special double-sided tape suitable for automotive use, but even with the right kind of tape, this is a very temporary solution.
Sometimes the headlining starts sagging from the center, making it impossible to fix it from the inside out. In some instances, you’ll need to reattach the lining to the foam externally.
Staples are easy to come by and can do the job nicely, but you will need a staple gun, which you can buy online or at a local hardware store. Your standard office stapler isn’t going to push the staples deep enough to hold them into place, and you certainly don’t want staples raining down on you while you’re driving.
Pins work similarly to staples and also work best when your headliner is sagging extensively or in the center. They are one of the most versatile options you have but remain very easy to use. You just push in as many as are necessary to hold your car headliner in place.
There are many types of pins. In a real pinch, you can just use thumbtacks, but they aren’t very secure and don’t look great. Sequin pins (also called applique pins) provide a sleeker look. However, like thumbtacks, sequin pins don’t have the best hold, and neither thumbtacks nor sequin pins are appropriate for use over large areas.
The best kinds of pins for headliner repair are upholstery twist pins. Their spiral shape allows them to really grip the foam of the lining and hold the fabric into place. They come in a variety of shapes for a bit of decorative flair, and unlike other types of pins, twist pins are suitable for repairing large areas of sagging.
5. Headliner Repair Kit
Perhaps the most discreet headliner repair you can do yourself involves purchasing a car headliner repair kit These kits can contain different types of fixtures, including rivets and the previously mentioned twist pins.
Most kits include several different options for reattaching your headliner to the car’s roof, but those options are often a combination of those mentioned above. The unique advantage the kits have is actually being made to match typical car interiors. Of course, you can always go looking for twist pins to match your upholstery, but the kits can make matching a bit easier.
How Much Does it Cost to Repair a Headliner?
Whenever something breaks on your car, your first thought is probably “What’s this going to cost me?” Well, in this case, it’s actually not that bad.
The cheapest options, like thumbtacks, can be picked up at your local dollar store. A decently sized box of twist pins will set you back between five and ten dollars, depending on your choices and location. A roll of double-sided automotive tape will cost around the same amount.
Spray glue for headliner repair can be purchased for around ten to fifteen dollars, making it a bit more expensive but still manageable. The most expensive DIY option is a headliner repair kit, but they often come with several things included.
Of course, even with all of the above solutions, there is always the possibility that your car headliner will be too damaged for an at-home repair. In those instances, you’ll have to decide whether to go to an automotive shop for a repair or attempt a full replacement.
The larger your car is and the more intricate its ceiling structures are, the more expensive it will be to replace the full headliner. You should try to avoid needing a replacement by maintaining your car headliner as well as you can and repairing it with one of the above options at the first sign of damage or sagging.
Your car headliner is something you don’t think about very often, but it is an integral part of your vehicle, aiding in safety and comfort. However, heat, moisture, and time will eventually cause the headliner to fail.
A saggy ceiling can be annoying as well as create a driving hazard, but you don’t need to ignore the problem. Car headliner repair can be a quick and easy process, and you have a wide variety of options. Be it with adhesives, pinnings, or special repair kits, you can fix that saggy ceiling on your own relatively inexpensively.
If you have any questions on car headliner repair, leave them in the comments below, and we’ll do our best to answer them for you.
Remember, sagging is inevitable, but you have options for headliner repair. Quickly addressing a failing headliner will prevent the problem from spreading, saving you money and keeping your car looking sleek at the same time.