How to Remove the Headliner on a Volvo 850

by Ryan Bauer
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car image by Muhammad Umair Tahir from

The Volvo 850's headliner consists of a single-piece backing board covered in a special foam-backed headliner fabric. There are several reasons you might wish to remove the headliner, such as to replace worn out or sagging fabric, or to access something that lies behind the headliner such as a sunroof motor. Removing the headliner is a time-consuming process, but it is not overly difficult and can be done without the assistance of a professional.

Step 1

Remove all of the plastic trim covering any portion of the headliner. This includes the trim surrounding the sunroof (if applicable), the panels covering the dome light, and the side trim over the doors. Use an automotive interior trim tool to unfasten the clips behind each panel.

Step 2

Remove the screws on the grab handles by each door and the courtesy light. Pull them both out of the headliner and unhook the wiring connector clipped to the light.

Step 3

Pull the headliner down, which is held on by a couple of hidden fasteners. A gentle tug will finish separating it from the roof. If your Volvo 850 is the wagon version, you can slide the headliner straight out the back of the car. If it's not a wagon, the only option is to remove it through the front passenger door. It will be necessary to bend the headliner slightly for it to fit through the opening.

Step 4

Remove the headliner from the backing board if you wish to replace it. Peel up one corner of the fabric using a knife or scraper, then pull the rest of it off. Scrape off any remaining chunks of fabric or glue.

Step 5

Roll a replacement length of foam-backed headliner fabric over the backing board. With a knife, cut it to a length slightly longer than the board. Spray the board with a liberal amount of headliner adhesive, then roll the fabric over the board. Work slowly, taking care not to create any bunches or bubbles in the fabric. When the fabric has been completely laid out, firmly rub the surface with your hand to help the glue bite into the fabric. Trim the excess material from the edges using a knife.

Step 6

Replace the headliner. Push it firmly into the ceiling until it snaps into place. Put the grab handles and light back on. Screw them down tightly and reconnect the wiring harness to the light. Replace the trim pieces, which simply snap back on.

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