Even if you go to great lengths to protect the interior of your car, you will most likely have to deal with a little bit of damage at some point. While most interior damage isn’t going to impact your car’s performance, it could greatly reduce its value. Damaged headliners are particularly unsightly, and that cosmetic problem is very common among older vehicles. Most major auto repairs should be left to the professionals, but car headliner repair can usually be taken care of with nothing more than some basic tools and supplies.
With a little bit of research and some hard work, you should be able to fix a sagging headliner in a matter of minutes, and this simple project is going to have a huge impact on the appearance of your car. Here is a quick look at how a roof liner is installed, what purpose it serves, and a car headliner repair guide.
What is a Car Headliner Exactly?
The material that covers the roof of your vehicle is called a headliner or roof liner, and it is typically made from multiple layers of fabric. Many drivers are surprised to hear that a headliner actually serves a few important purposes. In addition to improving a vehicle’s appearance, the fabric is also going to act as an additional layer of insulation. With a heavy layer of fabric spread across the roof, it will be much easier to keep your car at a comfortable temperature. As an added bonus, the headliner is also going to absorb excess noise.
In most relatively new vehicles, a headliner is made from a few layers of materials. Some manufacturers have also integrated unique features and components into their roof liners. Your headliner might have additional padding that is going to protect you during an accident. It could also be lined with LED lights, speakers, or some other upgrades. In recent years, environmentally roof liners have become very popular as well. Those headliners are made from materials that are recycled or have a very small impact on the environment.
Common Causes of a Damaged Car Headliner
Even though the vast majority of car headliners are made from very durable materials, that component of your vehicle must withstand quite a bit of abuse over the years. In certain locations, a sagging headliner can be the result of high humidity levels or excessive heat. When the roof of your vehicle is being bombarded with harsh UV rays, it could eventually damage the adhesive that keeps the headliner in place. If your vehicle has a sunroof, then that could lead to unnecessary damage as well. A sunroof can let quite a bit of moisture into a vehicle, and that is going to wreak havoc on the interior.
How to Repair Your Car Headliner
The average car owner puts quite a bit of time into maintaining the outside of their vehicle, but they might not be aware of just how much wear and tear is taking place on the inside. If that sounds like your own situation, then you need to get into the habit of regularly checking your headliner. As soon as you notice any sagging, you will need to carry out some repairs. That type of damage is only going to get worse over time, and there may come a point when the roof liner needs to be replaced entirely.
When you notice a sagging car headliner, you are going to have a few options. The first option is to rip the current headliner out and replace it entirely. Unfortunately, that can be a time-consuming and expensive task. For older vehicles, interior replacement parts are often incredibly costly. You also have the option of hiring a car headliner repair expert, but that can be expensive as well. To save yourself some time and money, you might want to tackle this project on your own.
Clear-Headed Twist Pins
Also known as saggy stoppers, clear-headed twist pins are an ideal option when a large portion of the headliner is sagging. One of the reasons why you might want to choose these pins is because they are relatively inexpensive, and you should be able to find them at quite a few local and online stores. Another benefit of twist pins is the fact that they aren’t going to leave any large holes in the liner or its backing.
Upholstery Glue the Headliner
For a quick and simple fix, you can glue the car headliner back to the roof of your vehicle. Upholstery glue is a decent option if the sagging is taking place along the outer edges of the liner. Unfortunately, glue probably can’t be used if the sagging is only occurring toward the center of the roof. Before you use any type of adhesive, you should make sure that it is designed for fabric. Most headliner glue is in a compressed bottle, and you will need to apply the adhesive to the roof as well as the headliner.
Steam Cleaner and Paint Roller
A car’s headliner is typically going to sag when the original adhesive that was used to attach it begins to fail. In some cases, a steam cleaner can be used to reheat the glue so that it becomes sticky once again. Along with the steam cleaner, you are also going to need a paint roller. After you heat the glue with the steam cleaner, you can then use the paint roller to press it back against the roof of the vehicle. Unfortunately, this fix might not work if the glue is old and has completely dried out.
Secure the Headliner with Sequin Pins
Using sequin pins is another simple and inexpensive fix if you don’t want to completely remove your car’s headliner. If the headliner is sagging in the center, then you will probably want to choose sequin pins instead of glue. While these pins can be used on practically any part of the roof liner, you shouldn’t use them if a large area is sagging. To fix the car headliner with sequin pins, you will need to press the liner into the foam backing and then push the pins through the fabric and foam.
Double-sided tape can be purchased at most hobby shops and auto repair stores. Much like glue, double-sided tape can only be used if the sagging is taking place near the edges of the car headliner. This fix is simple and inexpensive, but it should only be used as a temporary solution. Even if you buy high-quality tape, the adhesive will eventually begin to dry out. In a warm or humid location, this car headliner repair option might only last for a few weeks.
Protecting Your Car’s Interior From Sun Damage
When it comes to your vehicle’s headliner, high temperatures are its worst enemy. After being exposed to scorching temperatures and high humidity levels for years, most headliners will eventually begin to sag. Harsh UV rays and sweltering summer months can also wreak havoc on the rest of your car’s interior, and that is why it is so important to come up with a comprehensive plan for protecting your vehicle from unnecessary damage.
Park in the Shade as Much as Possible
One of the best things that you can do to protect the interior and exterior of your vehicle is to park in the shade as much as possible. In addition to lowering the temperature inside the vehicle, it is also going to protect all of the materials from sun damage.
Remember to Use a Windshield Sun Shades
Windshield sun shades are very inexpensive, and that simple product is going to have a big impact on the interior of your car. Whenever you can’t park in the shade, you should always try to put the sun shade up so that the UV rays don’t damage the dashboard or seats.
Regularly Wax Your Car
There are a few different reasons why you should ensure that your car is properly waxed at least once every few months. That simple maintenance step is going to protect your paint and add another layer of insulation so that the vehicle doesn’t get too hot.
Use Seat Covers
There are now many different types of seat covers to choose from, and that material is going to protect your seats from all types of damage. As an added bonus, seat covers can easily be taken off if they ever become stained or damaged.
Keep Your Car Clean
The final step in this process is regularly cleaning the inside and outside of your vehicle. Removing unwanted debris from your car will greatly improve its appearance and reduce your risk of unnecessary damage.
Your vehicle’s headliner might be more important than you realize, and you should always keep an eye out for sagging or any other signs of damage. In many cases, a roof liner can easily be repaired with nothing more than a few inexpensive supplies as long as you catch the damage early on.
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