Guess what. With $10, a bottle of White Elmers glue, some fabric, a plastic bristle brush, and a screwdriver you can stop this headliner problem forever!
This is a one-page write up of how to repair your sagging headliner.
~ The pictures and vehicle I worked on was my 1988 Pontiac Fiero 2m4 ~ Bringing back the 80's baby! :)
1. Remove all ceiling devices; hangars, center dome light, sun visors, brake light cover(if applicable), and anything else that holds up the headliner. - Use your screwdriver for this step.
Some cars will have rubber trim holding up the headliner. In this scenario; you can remove one side of (door) trim and angle the headliner out of the car while keeping the other side of trim installed.
2. Remove the headliner. The best way to do this is have both of the front seats in the down position. Angle the headliner out the rear passenger door. (If 2 door, out the front or trunk)
3. Peel all old headliner material off the old headliner!
4. Scrape the old glue off the headliner with the plastic bristle brush. This is a LENGTHY process. Can take 30-90 minutes depending on the type of material in your car. My headliner had both foam and glue. Took me nearly 2 hours! You should be very deliberate: Removing more old glue/material ensures your new headliner will last longer. (Like paining a car; preparation is 90% of the job!)
Be careful on this step. You do not want to ruin your fiberglass headliner.
5. New Headliner material - I used felt on my first headliner and cotton on my 2nd one. The pics are red felt. I purchased 2 yards of this stuff at JoAnn Fabrics for about $8. You can get fabric there or at Walmart. 2 yards should suffice for a car. Maybe 3 yards for a van or SUV. * If you are not sure, measure first* allow a few inches of extra for the edges to be stuffed under the trim
6. Measurement - Lay your fabric on the headliner fiberglass board and do a rough measurement. You want your fabric to be slightly larger than your headliner.
7. Cut the fabric to size
8 GLUE - I have replaced 2 different headliners and used 2 different types of glue.
8a. Elmers White Glue - the stuff you used as a kid, cost about $1.70 for 20 ounces. This works well and you can apply generously!
8b. High Tack Spray Adhesive - typically found at Home Depot or Lowes (I used "Locktite" brand) This has a very strong chemical odor and is VERY sticky! Cost about $8-10 for a can.
Personally, I would go the Elmers White glue route. It is cheaper and easier to use. Easy clean up too!
9. GLUE - Actually glue the headliner to the fiberglass backer board. Be sure to smooth out any air bubbles. Be deliberate about how you lay the fabric down and smoothing out bubbles. The last thing you want is a new headliner with wrinkles! DO NOT RUSH THIS STEP! (Dry time on white glue is roughly 60 minutes)
10. Optional - Tape and/or Staple the leftover extra fabric to the backside of the headliner. (this would essentially be the part you can't see if you looked up while sitting in the car. The "ugly" side of the headliner.
11. After the headliner is dry, get ready for installation. Double check to see all corners are firmly glued (and stapled) in place. Double check that you cut out holes where the sun visors and clothes hangers and dome light will go.
12. Install! - Enjoy your new headliner!
Put those pushpins back on the noteboard where they belong :)
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