A car headliner is the fabric material covering the inside top panel of your car. You could loosely call it your car ceiling. This fabric is mostly smooth and sleek until it begins to wrinkle then sag, and it may be a nuisance with time as it could completely fall off!
When you notice an opening in your car headliner, this is the right time to fix it before it gets out of hand. Fixing a loose headliner ensures you do not have to pull out the entire fabric off your car ceiling to replace it with a new one. Just like you would invest in the best fabric for your car seats, the headliners too should be in a good condition.
If you are cautious enough like every driver should anyway, you should go for the quick fixes to ensure you are always safe and your vision is unobstructed. Now, if the headliner only peels off at a section of your car, some of the best headliner adhesive products like the 3M Headliner spray glue could just do the trick.
All you need to do is expose the sagging area to clean off the old glue that is worn out. Next, you will need to scrub off the area you want to glue back to position with a brush to rid it of the hardened glue particles.
Apply evenly the headliner spray glue to ensure the foam material and the fabric is strongly bonded back in place. To remove any trapped air bubbles, you may need an old credit card or a nylon roller to squeeze out the air. These tools also ensure the vinyl headliner is back in great shape without wrinkles and sagging.
In just 30-60 minutes, the adhesive should be dry and it could last years. You should avoid using contact cement, silicone or even the wood glue as these would leave an ugly stain on the headliner.
Replacing the headliner
If you have a vintage car with the headliner in bad shape, it is probably because the foam has hardened and is breaking away and the manufacturer’s glue has lost its adhesive properties. Over time, cars parked in the sun experience this problem, but the solution is quite simple. You just need a few hours.
Removing the headlining package
You will need to unbolt all the screws holding the headliner in place. These screws are often hidden under the rear vision mirror, light fittings or the sun visor. Carefully take out the hard-pressed cardboard together with the headliner and place it on a flat worktop.
Peel off the old fabric completely from the foam. Next, use a brush to remove the remaining dry glue particles from the foam. To make this process easier, you may need a wire brush as this will save your time and get all the particles completely removed.
Read the instructions on the headliner adhesive spray before you begin spreading the glue evenly on the cardboard or the foam. Because the adhesive is white, you are in a position to know exactly the areas you have applied the adhesive to and the remaining areas. Most of the time, one adhesive can is sufficient but when your car is bigger, you may need two adhesive glue cans for a great finish.
Place your new fabric on the evenly glued headliner and press it down with a credit card for an even and smooth look. Every so often, you should check for swellings on the fabric and expel them using the old credit card or a nylon roller.
Once it is dried and well patched back, fix the headliner package right back into place and screw back the sun visors, lighting and rear-view mirror.
Repairing your headliner has never been this easy. With only adhesive headliner spray, screwdrivers, a brush and an old credit card, you could quickly get your car back in great shape. Using counterfeit glue may only worsen the situation or make your car messy. If you don’t trust yourself enough to DIY, you should seek the services of a professional mechanic to fix your headlining.