How to Install a Headliner in Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

All Vehicles come standard with a headliner. When the headliner in your Vehicles is loose or damaged, it can make the car unsightly as well as unsafe to drive by creating a blind spot in the rear view. Depending on the model year, the Vehicles headliner may be either a bow-type cloth or a molded plastic variety. Both types can be ordered on the Internet. Replace a damaged headliner with a new one and safely drive your Vehicles in style.

Under The Hood:

 How to Install a Headliner in a Pick-Up Truck

Remove the head liner being careful to keep it all in one piece. This is done by removing all the trim around it and removing the bezel from around the dome light if there is one. Trim is removed by unscrewing attaching screws or just prying the trim off as required. Thing is, you have to get all the trim off any way you can. Then just start prying the head liner loose starting at one of the sides. There is usually some kind of attaching device up in the middle which needs to be worked loose so reach up in there and work it loose.

Once you have the head liner out you'll see it consists of a heavy composition board that has/had fabric glued on the surface. The fabric is probably coming unglued and is falling off. Go ahead and take it off by just pulling on it. You will need this composition board. If you don't have one possibly you can get one from a used auto parts house.

Take the composition board frame to an auto body repair business that specializes in automotive upholstery. They can glue a new covering on your head liner for you, you just need to pick out the kind of fabric you want. This is a special kind of fabric that has a foam backing and needs to be glued on by a special contact cement that is sprayed on both pieces, the cloth covering and the composition board. This is not something you want to try your self.

Reinstall the headliner in the reverse order that you used to remove it. Possibly you will need someone to help you do this. Once you get the center support reinstalled the rest is fairly easy. It's just a matter of reattaching all the trim pieces. I've done this, it's not easy, but it is doable.

Items you will need

  • Phillips screw driver.

  • Prying tools of various configurations

  • Putty knife

  • Flat blade screwdriver.

 How to Install a Headliner on a 1940 Ford

Locate the four silver bolts in each corner of the Ford headliner. Unscrew each of them with a wrench before feeding the loosened Ford headliner through the trunk of the car.

Sand the entire 1940 Ford roof to remove any buildup of glue left by the old headliner.

Cover one side of the new Ford headliner in a coat of glue. Apply this one side of the Ford headliner to the sanded roof of the Ford. Apply pressure to the non-glued side until the headliner sticks.

Look for any overlapping material on the new Ford headliner. Trim this material off. Reattach the bolts in to their respective holes with a wrench.

Items you will need

  • Sandpaper

  • Headliner material

  • Scissors

  • Wrench

  • Spray glue

 How to Install a Headliner in a Chevy Nova

Detach the dome light, the sun visors and the plastic trim holding the headliner in place. Unscrew any bow rods that may be suspending the headliner from the sides of the roof. Remove the rods from the cloth loops.

Remove the old headliner by gently tearing it away from the roof, if it has been glued. Avoid damaging any retaining clips into which the headliner may be fitted.

Install the new headliner. If the headliner is a bow type, then insert the bow rods through the cloth loops on the back of the headliner and fasten the rods to the sides of the roof. Fit the headliner into any retaining clips. Reattach the plastic molding, the sun visors and the dome light.

Items you will need

  • Flat-head screwdriver set

  • Phillips-head screwdriver set

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.