How to Fix Sagging Headliner (5 Simple Methods)

A sagging headliner can be annoying and difficult to fix it without removing it. Here's how you can fix your sagging headliner in a step-to-step guide

car headliner cleaning

Automobile parts have a lifespan after which they start to break down or fail.

A headliner is one such component that can sag over time. But what can cause a headliner to sag?

It might be that you own an old car, or you are lazy when it comes to maintenance, or that you expose your car to the sun for a long time. The sun is your friend but not in your car. If you keep it standing under the sun unprotected your car’s headliner can sag.

To repair the headliner in most cases you have to take it off; however, there are ways that you can repair one without removing it. Here, we will tell you how to do exactly that.

What Is a Headliner?


First off, you need to know what a headliner is exactly. This part is not for hardcore motorheads who have endless information on cars but it is for those folks who know a lot less. A headliner is basically a fabric that is fitted to the roof of a car. It acts as an insulator for heat and cold as well as a barrier against noise that is coming from outside the car. A headliner is made of smooth fabric so that when you touch it, it is soft and pleasing.

The headliner is stuck to the roof with the help of strong glue. The biggest drawback of glue is that when it comes in contact with heat, it loses its potency. Cars that are exposed to extreme heat might get a sagging headliner earlier than others. The fabric can get separated from the supporting board and destroy the overall aesthetic of your car’s interior.

RELATED: How to Reattach a Side View Mirror With Glue/Adhesive

How to Fix a Sagging Headliner

fix headliner

You can replace your old headliner with a new one but that is not a viable decision since headliners along with their backboards are pretty expensive. The complete expense might equal to that of buying a car.

So, even if you want to, you would not replace it. Fortunately, there are other ways to fix a headliner that are cheaper and more practical. Read further and find out how to fix your sagging headliner.

1. Use glue to stick it back

The first thing you can try is glue. The headliner already comes stuck with glue. This glue fails overtime which means you have to reapply it. This method works best if the headliner has sagged only partially. In the areas where the headliner fabric has come off, apply super glue or you could even apply hot glue for a quick fix. If none of those work, you can search the market for the special adhesive used to stick the headliner fabric to the backboard. Make sure you apply the glue evenly and properly for the best effect.

2. Use pins to hold it up

If it’s a quick fix you want, your next best option after the glue is to use pins. Pins are cheap and can be applied easily. They also do not require much time to apply. All you need to do is buy yourself a set of thumb pins and you are good to go. Take a few pins and put them against the sagging headliner to hold it back together with the backboard. You can even make a design out of the pins to make them look appealing and in return make your car’s interior more attractive. This method requires no special expertise and it requires the least amount of time, so if you ask us, pins are the way to go.

3. Clear-headed twist pins

Twist pins are a special type of pins that can be termed as the real solution for your sagging headliner. These pins have a pointy end that twists into the head. When you push it against the backboard, you need to twist it and the headliner will stick in place. This is the most inexpensive way to stop a sagging headliner. You can even use a clear-headed twist pin to make a unique design on your roof.

The good thing about clear-headed twist pins is that they do not damage the backboard as other pins do. They won’t make any holes in the board that might further cause it to disintegrate. Which is why they are a better option than either glue or thumbtacks.

4. Use a steam cleaner

The real reason the headliner sags is because the glue holding it back loses its stickiness. You can attempt to revive its power by the use of a steam cleaner. The steam cleaner can melt the glue in the headliner and give it back its stickiness. This way, the headliner can stick back to its place in the frame. When you have used the steam cleaner to melt the glue and attached it back to the frame, you can use a paint roller or even a ruler to firmly attach the headliner to the frame. You won’t leave a wrinkle or a crevice. If the sag is around the edges that is a bonus.

5. Use double-sided tape

The tape is a unique invention that can help you with almost everything. You can use it to make a quick fix almost anywhere in your house or in your car. A sagging headliner can also be fixed using a tape. All you have to do is buy double-sided tape. The double-sided tape will stick to the roof’s frame and to the fabric causing it to stick firmly back. This method is useful if you hae extensive damage on the edges.


No matter what method you choose, it should be your duty to inspect the affected area first. Depending on the extent of the sag, you can choose the best method from the list above. However, you should remember that all these are quick fixes, which means that they can fail sooner rather than later. Once you see the first signs of sag, you should start saving money for a permanent fix.

Written by:

Magnus is the owner and main author of MechanicBase. He has been working as a mechanic for over 10 years, and the majority of them specialized in advanced diagnostics and troubleshooting. He has also been a motorsport (drifting) driver for over 5 years.