How to fix sagging headliner without removing it?

The headliner inside your car plays a crucial role in providing insulation against the cold and heat, as well as the noise coming from outside. Unfortunately, it is not immune to wear and tear; and if exposed to some undesirable circumstances, the headliner eventually starts to sag.

A sagging headliner not only takes away from the aesthetic appeal of your vehicle’s interior but also makes it look old. In most cases, fixing a damaged headliner involves taking the entire headliner out. Luckily, a few hacks can save you all this trouble, yet still restore the integrity of your car.

In this post, we discuss various ways you can fix a sagging headliner without removing it!

What is a Headliner?

Have you ever been curious as to why your cars interior stays warm or cool while the heat is raging outside? Well, that's thanks to its headliner! This smooth fabric lining helps quietly insulate and buffer occupants from external temperatures. Additionally, this material also works hard at keeping out noise pollution - so even when there’s chaos on the road ahead of you, inside your vehicle remains a haven of peace and serenity.

What Causes a Car Headliner to Sag?

The headliner is held against the roof using strong glue which unfortunately loses its “sticking” property when it’s exposed to heat. If you reside in a hot region, your car’s headliner is likely to experience sagging sooner than you might expect. But this is just one of several reasons why you may have a sagging headliner.

Another reason that  may cause this is prolonged contact with water. This makes the adhesive lose its potency, resulting in the headliner getting separated from the supporting board. 

Finally, the glue holding the headliner in place tends to deteriorate over time. That is why a sagging headliner is a more common phenomenon in older cars.

Fixing a Sagging Headliner

The good thing about a sagging headliner is that while it is pretty much inevitable, it is also quite simple to fix. Below are just some of the many options you can use to fix the headliner without removing it:

Option 1: Glue it up the Old-fashioned Way

This is one of the first things that come to mind; after all, headliners are usually held up using some kind of glue. If the headliner has partially sagged, then it shouldn’t take you too long to fix. All you require is a strong glue to hold it firmly back in place. Your best bet, in this case, would be to apply a spray can adhesive.

Inspect the headliner to see whether there are any tears aside from the sagging.. Remove the central cabin light  as this will make it easier to fix the headliner and locate all the sagging areas. 

Your car repair may require the removal of its headliner to better assess and address any damage. Utilize a wire brush on affected surfaces before applying an even spread of adhesive, ensuring full coverage when re-installing the fixture.

Don't forget to replace your cabin light as well! To test if you've successfully repaired this part, simply run your hand along it; no sagging should be felt for proper completion - congratulations on a job well done!

Option 2: Use Sequin Pins

people inside a car

Looking for a way to hold up your sagging headliner without the sticky hassle of glue? Look no further than sequin pins. These are easy and tool-free installation options that won’t leave any residue behind on your hands or in your car interior.

First, inspect areas where the material has pulled away from its supporting board then press it back into place with one hand while pushing down on each pin securely with the other to make certain it is correctly held aloft!

The benefit of using pins is that you can get creative and arrange them in an appealing pattern that will enhance the overall look. This way everyone will assume it’s all part of the interior design. 

Option 3: Stick it with Hair Spray and Staple Pins

Using staple pins may sound like a long shot but people have been known to use them in fixing their sagging headliners. Keep in mind that a paper stapler may not be effective in this case, rather use a staple gun for this. 

Just push back the sagging spots on the ceiling and pin them back in place using your staple gun. Once you’re done with this, take some hairspray and apply it to all the places you have stapled. The hairspray serves to melt the adhesive that once held the headliner fabric and supporting board together, helping to restore its stickiness. 

Quickly and inexpensively repair a sagging headliner with this simple method: wait a couple of minutes for the surface to dry before removing any pins. Although temporary, it promises an effective fix until further repairs are needed within a shorter period.

Option 4: Stick it Up with Clear-headed Pins

Twist pins effectively screws into your existing headliner and is another reliable solution to your sagging headliner.  Similar to the method explained in option 3 above, all you need to do is push up the ceiling and drive the pin into the supporting board and twist.

Revitalize the look of your car's interior with clear-headed pins! These dynamic accessories provide a convenient way to attach headliners without leaving any holes in the ceiling, helping preserve their longevity. Plus, you get to experiment and have fun trying out different patterns for added charm.

Not to mention that they are cheap and readily accessible!


Option 5: Fix it with Double-sided Tape

Another fast and easy way to fix a sagging headliner is with the help of double-sided tape. This special tape is made in such a way that allows it to stick on both sides, making it possible to join two surfaces simultaneously. 

Tired of thumb pins and their risk of damaging your car's headliner fabric? Double-sided tape provides a simple, long-lasting solution! Place the adhesive on all loose areas before firmly pushing up against supporting boards. After ensuring that enough pressure is applied, enjoy quick restoration with no damage done to materials - perfect for when you want quality results without any fuss!

Option 6: Use a Steam Cleaner to Revive the Adhesive

Finally, the last option is using a steam roller to fix the sagging headliner. The heat of the steam roller warms the degenerated adhesive, causing it to melt underneath the headliner and regain some of its stickiness. Although it may not be as potent as when initially applied, it will do the job of holding the ceiling up.

While using the steam roller, make sure that you work on all the sagging areas. Using a paint roller, press the material against the backboard for uniformity once you’re done with the restoration job. 

This is another wonderful technique that doesn’t interfere with the look of your car. It leaves the headliner looking as lovely as it was before and there are no wrinkles or crevices to worry about. Also, the heat from the steam roller is just sufficient enough to do the job without causing damage to the adhesive. 

How Long Do the Above Fixes Last?

If your car headliner is damaged, you could benefit from selecting one of a few easy solutions. Short on time or budget? Great news - these restore methods can each provide lasting results without breaking the bank!

 For instance, steam rolling to fix adhesive beneath headliners has been known to last up to 12 months with proper maintenance practices in place such as avoiding exposure to water and extreme temperatures that may affect its potency.

Important Things to Note

When using any of the options above, there are a few things that you need to bear in mind:

  • Clean the surfaces of the headliner and backboard before applying the glue
  • Take care not to damage the fabric when removing the staple or thumb pins
  • Use as few pins as possible when holding up the headliner to minimize damage to the fabric
  • Apply the glue evenly to achieve the best results


It’s important to note that the above methods only provide a temporary solution and that you can’t expect them to restore your sagging headliner for the long haul. They are best recommended when you are looking for a quick fix and don’t have enough money for a complete restoration job.

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