How To Fix Sagging Headliner Without Removing In Less Than 10 Minutes!

Yes, overheating, just like a lack of upkeep and dampness, can make the fabric slump by dissolving the glue that holds it to the roof frame. Is there any way to avoid these hassles? How to fix sagging headliner without removing? Let’s find out!

What Is a Headliner In A Car?

A headliner, or headlining, is a fabric that is secured to the roof framing. It gives the car’s roof a smooth texture, absorbs noises, and keeps a pleasing interior temperature by buffering the outside cold and heat.

A standard headliner car is made up of many layers, including foam, which is commonly polyurethane. The foam is sprayed or attached to a headliner board that attaches to the inside of the roof, softening the headliner and insulating the interior from heat and noise. 

Without this thin layer of insulation, a car parked in the sun may become hotter inside, and wind noise may become more noticeable, especially at highway speeds. Furthermore, this insulation improves the acoustics for audio systems that are customized to the interiors of particular automobiles.

Typically, a bottom layer of cloth or vinyl covers the foam insulation. This is the observable component of the headliner that lends a polished appearance to the interior. 

headliner in car
A standard headliner is made up of many layers, including foam, which is commonly polyurethane. (Photo: Dubizzle)

Quality varies, with budget automobiles using inferior materials that appear and feel insubstantial and more expensive models using woven or even suede like material that occasionally reaches down the window pillars. The foam insulation is incorporated into the fabric of some cars. 

The headliner board is kept in place by moldings, trim pieces, and clips on the edges, as well as screws for light assemblies, grab handles, and sun visors. Headliners that have become worn or soiled can be changed using either original equipment or aftermarket materials.

The Reasons Why Car Headliners Start Sagging?

Over time and due to extreme weather conditions, the fabric may become loose and get separated from its backing board. This condition is known as ‘sagging headliner’, which you sometimes cannot avoid repairing because it gets in the way.

In detail, any extreme heat that the car roof is contacted with will result in sagged and broken headliner. The heat will melt the headliner glue, causing this covered fabric to loosen. 

In addition, some vehicles may have inadequate waterproofing, allowing water to enter the roof liner foam and deteriorate the adhesive. 

Drivers with children or pets are also prone to drooping headliners. Since both can play, scratch or pull the headlining, putting physical strain on it and therefore, speeding up the failing process.

How To Fix Sagging Headliner Without Removing?

Replacing the headliner with a new one is financially impractical, especially in an old car, because the expenses will be almost equal to the value of the car!

Learn about how to fix sagging headliner in car without removing it to get the most budget-friendly way, you can apply these tricks for a smooth and money-saving process.

car headliner replacement
Poor maintenance can make the headliner saggy. (Photo: Gumtree)

Use The Old-fashioned Gluing

One of the easiest ways to put the headliner back into its place is to use glue. It will best work if the fabric is sagged partially, like in a corner or around the edges. 

To effectively fix headliner in car without removing, you have to apply a special headlining adhesive because ordinary glue will be of no use. A spray can adhesive is likely to be the best solution to apply and distribute the glue evenly.

Pin It Down

It’s another quick fix that won’t require much time and money. The method is quite effective and you can push back the headliner to its place even if half of it is coming off. Use sequin pins or anything that serves your purpose. 

Push the pins through the fabric to the foam backing board. You can arrange the pins in a pattern to make the headliner look visually pleasing.

Clear-headed Twist Pin

These are called saggy stoppers, and rightly so because they are a no-fuss and inexpensive means of putting the headliner in its place. So how to fix a sagging headliner? You can fix it even if the entire headlining is sagging and about to fall on your head.

car headlining repairs
You can quickly repair the headliner with these pins. (Photo: HealthyCar.Org)

These clear-headed pins won’t damage the thin headlining board with any holes. It’s a better option than glue or tacks because the latter things may leave you with more costly and complicated problems. As they can damage the fragile fabric if you are not careful with the car headliner repair.

Use The Steam Cleaner And Paint Roller Combo

The steam cleaner will melt the headliner glue and help it to reattach to its frame. After that, the paint roller will assist the fabric to set up evenly without any creases or wrinkles. 

This trick works best when the fabric sags around the edges. Make sure you’ve got the best car steam cleaner so you can free your mind of this stubborn task while enhancing your car’s comfort.

Check out this video below to see more details on Truck/Car/Van headliner repair tips and tricks (Video: Troy’s Garage)

What Can You Do To Prevent The Sagging Headliner?

You now know how to fix sagging headliner without removing, so what can you do to prevent this sagging isssue?

As we all know that sagging is caused by poor maintenance and neglected actions of the owners. This issue is sometimes inevitable when you are living in a super sunny area. However anything can be prevented and improved from the very beginning. 

Here are some tips you can refer to protect car headliner fabric specifically and your car ceiling in general for a long and comfortable use period. 

  • Do not use any home treatment procedures, such as hairspray, stapling, or pins. 
  • Always try to park your vehicle in the shade, and avoid direct sunlight. It will protect both the interiors and the exteriors.
  • Ensure that children and pets are kept close in their seats to prevent them from constantly contacting the car ceiling.
  • Check your rubber seals regularly to guarantee that no water enters the vehicle.
  • If you use a steam cleaner to clean the headliners, avoid using too much pressure or steam.

FAQs On The Sagging Headliner and Related Issues

1. How much does the sagging headliner replacement cost?

We just scrolled through several notices and got to how to fix a sagging headliner. But sometimes, things will not be that fortunate. And fixing will not bring you anywhere but to waste more time or money. That’s when all you can do is replace that broken one.

The sagging headliner replacement can be in many forms and price tags. If you have a common older car, you may have a bargain deal with a new headliner kit, no matter if it’s aftermarket or factory-original. Both have reasonable prices and you only have to pay for labor costs of about $70 to $170.

On the other hand, in case you own a more expensive or luxury vehicle, the headliner’s replacement overall price including the new item and installation cost can add up to thousands.

Here is a cost-summary table we have consulted from experts and reports on sagging headliners replacing procedures! 

Vehicle Type Sagging Headliners Replacement Cost
Simple-designed with no ceiling accessories Sedan/Hatchback/Coupe (Accord/Corolla) $300 – $750
Large typical SUV/Crossover with sunroof/moonroof (RAV 4/X-Trail) $500 – $900
Luxury Vehicle with large and high-quality ceiling (BMW) $1,000 – $6,000

2. How do you know if your ceiling is sagging?

Some signs of car ceiling are prone to stag, weaken, or under a lot of stress:

  • A cracking sound whenever your car is shaking/when slamming car doors
  • Drooping plasterboard sheeting or cornice
  • Visible cracking you can notice right away
  • Tiny circles or blisters form as lines produced by nails or screws. In this case, the ceiling cover may be pushed away from the joist above it.
replace car headliner
There will be some visible signs to know when your ceiling is sagging. (Photo: Reddit)

3. Is it OK to fix the headliner sagging myself?

You can fix several not-so-severe issues of car headliners yourself. Getting a replacement kit online and at auto parts retailers is easy nowadays.

However, make sure you are confident in your detailing skill and grasp the process as clearly as that sunny sky before getting into the task. Assisting you in this process is a headlining repair kit, including fasteners and retention rings.

The $70 – $80 kit allows you to use small tools to screen up into the foam backing to maintain the inner layer of a sinking headliner. The screws dig into a fiberboard substrate under the foam layer of the headliners.

4. Can I paint a headliner?

It may appear appealing to paint your car’s headliner. However, doing so without putting paint all over the trim and glass will need a significant amount of preparation. The same amount of time, effort, and money would be better spent on a good successor. 

Furthermore, the paint is unlikely to be pleased with the temperature-related expansion and contraction that occurs within a car’s interior. We advise against painting the headliner.

5. Does car insurance cover the cost of car headliner replacement?

Unfortunately, most car extended insurance excludes coverage for your vehicle’s interior upholstery, trim, and headliner. 


So overall, the failing headliner was not included among the parts or systems covered by the inclusive car warranties.

Hopefully this article will be useful for you. If you have any question, leave us a comment below, our auto experts will answer it for you on how to fix sagging headliner without removing.