How to Install a New Car Headliner

a silver car
  • 2-4 hours
  • Beginner
  • 75-125
What You'll Need
New headliner fabric
Can of spray glue adhesive
Pair of scissors
Large grit sandpaper

Like the other parts of a vehicle, the car headliner tends to wear and deteriorate with time. We all have seen a sagging headliner and it is far from a pleasant sight. Even if your car is equipped with the finest seat upholstery, a dashboard of mahogany and state-of-the-art electronics, a drooping headliner is all your friends will notice.

But being an eyesore is nothing compared to the damage a sagging headliner may cause if it suddenly gives up and falls over you while you are driving. For this reason, you should not hesitate to replace your headliner as soon as it starts showing the first signs of wear and old age. A professional upholster shop will typically charge you between $100.00 and $200.00, but you can do the job yourself. So, with a couple of hours of light work, you will save at least half of that sum.

Step 1 – Protect the Seats Well

Cover the seats, dashboard and wheel well with protective nylon or another suitable material as to avoid any soiling.

Step 2 – Remove the Old Headliner

Take off all car parts, for example the visors, coat hangers and lights which are attached to the headliner. In the usual case, they are fixed with screws, so use the screwdriver to remove them. Once you are ready with this, you can pull down the headliner. To do so, simply use your bare hands or any instrument you find appropriate.

Step 3 – Clean the Headliner Shell

Remove the foam which still remains on the headliner shell. To this purpose, use the large grit sandpaper

Step 4 – Install the New Headliner

Place the new headliner fabric on to the shell and fold it in half so that part of the shell remains visible. Then apply the spray glue adhesive on the shell and the back side of the headliner fabric, give it time to dry as per the manufacturer's instructions and lay the fabric on to the shell. As you do this, make sure to smooth out with hands any wrinkles which may appear.

Repeat this procedure for the other half of the fabric and the shell. With the scissors, cut the left-over fabric to a one-quarter inch strip – this strip will be covered by the headliner moldings.

Step 5 – Attach again the Removed Car Parts

Put the moldings back in place and reinstall the visors, lights and hangers. As a final step, you need to remove the protective material from the seats, wheel and dashboard.

Make sure you wear protective equipment throughout the replacement procedure and be particularly careful not to harm your eyes when using the spray glue adhesive.