DIY: Fixing my car’s headliner

Tuesday (June 10)

I was driving up to the department for a meeting with my advisor, when I noticed that something has blocked my rear view.

The fabric covering of the headliner (or roofliner) was peeling off from the back. I turned down my windows, hoping the wind would blow the headliner up so I can see through the back windscreen. But the stronger wind blew more of the headliner down. By the time I reached the campus parking lot, the headliner looked like this.

After my meeting, I tried to use the hand grips to hold the headliner up.

When I got home, I did some temporary emergency “repair” to remediate the situation until I figure out what to do next. I rolled up the headliner, tied the ends with rubberband and tied it to the handgrips with ribbons.

Surfed the web for some do-it-yourself information and I actually found forums discussing what to do with a headliner that’s peeling off.

Wednesday (June 11)

Drove to Walmart to look for the stuff that I would need: (a) a can of 3M Headliner adhesive spray, and (b) 1 or 2 packs of twist pins (available at the sewing dept).


Did nothing…too lazy 🙂

Sunday (June 15)

Brought along my handheld vacuum, packaging tape, scissors, rags, brown paper, stapler, a big bottle of water for cleaning, ipod, cap, drinking water, the adhesive spray, and the twist pins. Drove the car to a nice shady spot.

Step 1: Remove as much of the crumbly gluey sponge material sticking to the fabric and to the “ceiling” of the car. I started doing that with some sandpaper but found that it’s much faster if I just use my hand.

Step 2: Vacuum away as much of the orange/brown sponge material from the car seat and the floor.

Step 3: Cover the seat with brown paper.

Step 4: Spray on the 3M Headliner adhesive. Spray one layer, wait 10 minutes, spray second layer, wait 10 minutes.

Step 5: Quickly walk back to my apartment to get camera to document my hard work.

Step 6: Press headliner fabric to the car’s “ceiling”. Unfortunately, the fabric won’t stay stuck to the ceiling.

Step 7: Quickly get out the twist pins and start pinning the fabric to the headliner board. The ceiling is made out of cardboard-like material. Place the pins in strategic places all over the ceiling. I’m not sure if the adhesive spray is needed since the fabric doesn’t seem to stay stuck to the ceiling.

Step 8: Use a scissors to push the extra fabric into the side paneling. Since I rolled up the fabric when I temporary repaired the headliner, the clean side of the fabric is now covered with sticky specks of sponge material..and it won’t come out 🙁

DIY job completed!!

Time needed: 3 hours.
Cost: 3M headliner adhesive spray ($7), 16 twist pins ($1).
Self-Reward: Combo meal #1 at Wendy’s plus a small frosty ($6.55).

Happy Father’s Day!!
My dad would be proud of my car DIY job 🙂

2 thoughts to “DIY: Fixing my car’s headliner”

  1. Oh wow, I’m really impressed with your work 🙂 The same thing happened to my little marshmallow (white kancil) back in KL several years ago, but since it was Malaysia, I think my dad just took it to the car shop to get repaired,lol.

  2. I read somewhere that it will cost around $100 to get it done here in the US. I would rather spend that kind of money fixing essential parts of the car. I’m glad it turned out pretty good 🙂

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