What Glue to Use to Reattach a Car Headliner?

by Brian Walker
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A vehicle’s headliner is the fabric or felt material that covers the interior of the ceiling area. It provides insulation, protection and visual enhancements in much the same way as door panels or carpeting in the vehicle can. If your headliner begins to sag or you simply wish to replace the entire thing, you need to be sure to use the proper glue. This will ensure that the new headliner will last for many years.

Proper Glue for Headliners

To glue a headliner into place you will want to use a special type of adhesive designed for such application. The adhesive will usually be clearly labeled as one that can be used on automotive interior applications. You can find the proper adhesive made by several different popular brands available at almost any automotive parts store. The glue will be compatible with vinyl and fabric and will be able to withstand the heat and cold that comes from being applied to the inner lining of a vehicle’s roof. Many standard craft adhesives that aren’t meant for automotive use are rubber-based. Using a rubber-based adhesive will only lead to problems on hot days, as the heating of the vehicle’s roof will cause the rubber adhesive to melt and become pliable, leading to sagging and separating of the headliner. Sticking with specifically designed spray that clearly states its ability to withstand the elements will keep you from having to re-glue the headliner down the road. Furthermore, you will want to be sure the glue comes as a spray. It is likely that the only type of headliner adhesive you’ll find is in fact in spray form, sold in aerosol cans that resemble spray paint. Using a spray-on process to apply the glue is preferred, as it is the only way you will be able to coat the entirety of the headliner in an even fashion without taking so long that the glue begins to dry too soon. The glue will need to be applied thoroughly and evenly across the entire surface of the headliner to prevent sagging and as such multiple cans of the spray-on adhesive are probably required. The adhesive should cost no more than a standard can of paint and as such it is better to be on the safe side and buy multiple cans.

Popular Brands/Types

While there are many brands of spray adhesive on the market that would work for repairing or replacing headliners, the company 3M seems to have the most trusted and widest range of acceptable products. Reviews and recommendations combined with the ease of finding the 3M-brand product seem to elevate them above that of other lesser-known brands. Furthermore, 3M provides several types of spray adhesives, each best suited to a different type of headliner installation. For small fixes such as minor sagging of the headliner in some areas you should opt for the 3M Headliner Spray. It is a strong-holding glue meant for small area application and touch-ups. A full headliner restoration should use 3M Hi-Tack Spray Adhesive. It is somewhat more expensive than its counterparts but is designed to hold against any elements for a long time. It's heat-resistant and formulated to bond various rubber, fabric and plastics together, ensuring that no matter what material your headliner, you won't have any sagging or coming unglued.

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