How to Fix a Car Interior's Falling Ceiling

by Robert Moore

Chances are you're getting pretty tired of that fabric hanging from the roof of your car. Blocking your view out the rear window, barely touching the tip of your hair as you drive -- it's enough to make you want to rip it right off the ceiling. Go ahead and do it, because you're about to restore that headliner to like-new condition. The best part is that it'll only take a small list of tools and materials, some of which you may already have. You're welcome to choose whatever color fabric you like for the headliner, but make sure it is large enough to cover the entire headliner board with two inches overhang all the way around.

Step 1

Remove anything that mounts to the ceiling through the headliner. This includes dome-light and map-light assemblies, hooks for clothing sun visors, etc. Remove all side, front and rear trim panels that cover the edges of the headliner. Remove the headliner from the vehicle. You may have to bend it to get it out -- be careful not to put a crease in it.

Step 2

Peel all of the old fabric off of the headliner board. Make a note of the areas where the fabric wraps around to the backside of the board.

Step 3

Clean all of the old foam material off of the headliner board with a soft wire brush. Lay out the new foam-backed fabric, foam side down, on the headliner board. Adjust the fabric, as needed, so that it overhangs evenly on all sides.

Step 4

Fold one half of the fabric up to expose the foam backing. Coat the foam backing and headliner board evenly with spray adhesive. Wait until the adhesive is just dry to the touch. Lay that half of the fabric onto the headliner board slowly -- don't pull or stretch the fabric. Gently rub your hand over the fabric to help adhere it to the headliner board. Repeat this step on the other half of the headliner.

Step 5

Flip the headliner over and cut the excess fabric from around the edges of the board with a razor blade. Use care to leave at least an inch of fabric in areas where the original fabric wrapped around to the backside of the headliner.

Step 6

Apply spray adhesive to the overhanging areas of fabric and where they will attach to the headliner board. Wait for the adhesive to dry, and then fold the fabric over onto the back side of the headliner. Trim the fabric away from all of the holes in the headliner board. Install the headliner to your vehicle.

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