How to Fix A Sagging Headliner (5 Quick Methods)

If you have a sagging headliner, don't panic. There are many quick and easy methods that can help fix the problem in no time. Here's how!

How To Fix Sagging Headliner

When you are sitting in your car, the last thing you want to deal with is a sagging headliner that can be a distraction. To avoid this, you need to know how to fix a sagging headliner, but you don’t want to remove it and have a new one reinstalled.

In this guide, we examine all of the easiest methods to fix the headliner. Thankfully, you don’t have to remove it to ensure it is secure. 

What is the Headliner?

The fabric material that runs on the vehicle’s interior roof is known as the headliner. It can add plenty of style to your vehicle, but it also has practical purposes. The headliner helps to keep the cabin insulated from the temperatures outside. It can also reduce vibration, so there’s less noise while driving.

The headliner is more than just fabric. In fact, it usually is constructed in multiple sections. The first is a cardboard, fiberglass or foam piece on top. After this, there’s cloth, leather or vinyl that’s laid over the top of it. This is the part that often starts sagging, especially on older vehicles.

5 Ways to Fix a Sagging Headliner

The most popular way to repair a sagging headliner is with glue. However, you can also use thumbtacks or pins. Some people turn to staples and hairspray, while others will use carpenter’s tape. If those don’t work, steaming the headliner might bring the results you are looking for.

Here are some more detailed steps on how to repair a sagging headliner:

1. Glue

Spray Glue

One of the most common solutions is to glue the headliner back in place. However, this method isn’t always easy. If you can repair the headliner when it first starts sagging, you have the best chance of success. 

Usually, the sagging starts where the headliner meets the windshield at the top of the roof. This area fails first because of the exposure to UV rays. With headliner adhesive from the auto parts store, you can reattach it without a lot of effort. 

2. Thumbtacks/Pins

Upholestry Pins

You can also secure the sagging headliner with some pins or thumbtacks, but this isn’t the most stylish option. However, it might be one of the quicker options, especially if you want to get it done in a hurry.

With your pins, attach the fabric to the inner layer of the headliner. If you are feeling creative, you can add a unique design out of the tacks. 

There are also special upholstery pins you can use that might help the appearance slightly. If you choose some with a corkscrew design, you will twist the pin in place so it locks down for more security.

3. Staples & Hairspray

Stapler Gun

This isn’t the most obvious solution, but it’s been used with a lot of success. With a stapler gun, secure the headliner to the material underneath.

Spray down the headliner with some hairspray and let it dry. Once everything is dry, try removing the staples to see what happens. 

4. Double-Sided Carpenter’s Tape

Double-Sided,Tape

Most people have a roll of carpenter’s tape lying in the toolbox, so you might not have to go anywhere to get this fix completed. Cut off the amount of tape you need and stick it to the headliner.

Remove the backing and secure it to the roof. You can do this wherever it is sagging without spending a lot of money. However, this method doesn’t work if only the middle of the headliner is sagging down because you need an edge to be free to use the tape. 

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5. Steam

Steam Headliner

Steam is probably the best and most professional way to fix a sagging headliner without removing it. With some simple steaming, you might be able to reactivate the glue that secured the headliner to the underlying material. With a small steam cleaner, you can melt the glue for more adhesion.

Start by working with a small section to see if it is feasible. If the glue has gotten too old, you won’t be able to activate it. Run the steamer across the headliner, as if you were painting with a roller. As you go along, press the headliner back to the first layer of material. This method also helps to reduce creases and wrinkles in the fabric. 

Cost to Replace Headliner

If the methods of fixing the headliner don’t work, you might need to replace it. In some cases, replacing a headliner costs between $200 and $500, depending on the type of vehicle you drive and where you live.

However, if your car is old and not worth much, you may not want to invest the money. You could always remove the headliner and drive without it.

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Magnus Sellén
Written by:

Magnus is the owner and main author of Mechanicbase. He has been working as a car mechanic for over 10 years, and the majority of them specialized in advanced car diagnostics and troubleshooting. Certified Automotive Diagnostic Technician.