Repair Car Headliner

Is your vehicle's ceiling damaged? Do you have a sagging car headliner, torn headliner or stained headliner board? Trust the car interior experts at Mac's Upholstery to fix a headliner in a car or replace a headliner board. Automotive headliners are sometimes referred to as head liners.

Seattle Car Headliner Repair Experts

dropped headlinerIf your car ceiling is drooping, torn or water-stained, it's time for a headliner fix or upholstery fabric repair.

You could buy a kit on the Internet and try it yourself. But, it isn't easy to repair a headliner. If you don't get it right the first time, you have to start all over. Why risk the embarrassment and cost of a botched do-it-yourself project, when Seattle's auto headliner repair experts are a phone call away. Avoid the mistakes and mess of automobile headliner replacement by calling the professionals at Mac's Upholstery.

Mac's Upholstery Repairs Sagging Headliners

Mac's is Seattle's leading headliner repair shop and headliner replacement location. We'll estimate the cost of headliner replacement and show you how we fix a sagging ceiling with foam backed headliner fabric. Compare prices and headliner fabric in our Ballard showroom.

Headliner Quick Fix Mistakes

  • There are scattered blog posts on the Internet claiming you can save money by spraying fabric paint on a damaged headliner instead of repairing it properly with foam-backed fabric. This is a really bad idea. Not only does painting your headliner immediately decrease the value of your car, it looks terrible.headliner gunk
  • What about regluing the old fabric to the headliner board? Unfortunately, it's not possible. When a headliner deteriorates, the foam and board adhesive turn to gunk (right) or dust. You can't glue "dust to dust".
  • How about stapling the sagging fabric to the headliner board? If you have a strong stapler and the board is soft you can give it a try. The fabric will still droop and it'll look sloppy, but the staples will keep it from falling all the way down.
  • Some brave do-it-yourselfers use upholstery fabric instead of headliner fabric. Bad idea. Most upholstery fabric is quite a bit heavier than headliner fabric. What's more, it doesn't have a foam backing and it's less elastic. For these reasons, upholstery fabric may wrinkle or peel off the headliner board prematurely.

How To Repair Car Headliner With New Headliner Material

We've been replacing auto headliners for decades. Our professionally trained technicians repair sagging headliners for most makes and models of cars. Here's an example of how we typically do it.

  • Completing Car Headliner Repair
    Headliner Removed From Car
  • Repairing Auto Headliner
    Cleaning Auto Headliner
  • Headliner For Car
    Recovering Headliner Board
  1. Detaching the headliner board is usually the first step (above left). This process can be time consuming since it often requires removing fasteners, clips, molding, electrical conduits and drain lines before extracting the board. Above all, you have to be careful not to damage the headliner or the car upholstery when removing it from the vehicle.
  2. Next, we peel off the damaged fabric and scrub away the debris and adhesive gunk (above middle). Most modern headliners are plastic or fiberglass, so cleaning requires plenty of elbow grease. If you don't thoroughly clean the board the new adhesive layer will fail and the headliner will drop again.
  3. Fitting and gluing the new headliner fabric to the board is the trickiest part (above right). Today's headliners are often molded in odd shapes to accomodate sunroofs, entertainment systems and controls. The fabric has to fit precisely because you only get one chance to glue it. If it's cut wrong or a wrinkle appears during the application process you have to start over again; the board needs to be stripped and cleaned a second time.

Popular Headliner Materials & Headliner Fabric Colors

There are scores of colors and fabrics available for custom headliners. You can restore your headliner with OEM colors or try a completely different color, tone and texture. Here's a partial list of headliner colors. Place your mouse cursor over a swatch for its color name.

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headliner fabric colors headliner fabric colors headliner fabric colors headliner fabric colors headliner fabric colors headliner fabric colors headliner fabric colors headliner fabric colors headliner fabric colors headliner fabric colors headliner fabric colors headliner fabric colors
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Headliners For Modern Cars

Automotive components are becoming more and more complicated, even the mundane headliner. Take a look at this headliner from a late model Jaguar. With all its electrical connectors, conduits and special padding, the process of removing and restoring a headliner from a new car is no longer simple.

  • jaguar auto headliner board
    Modern Headliner
  • automotive headliner repair
    Automotive Headliner Repair
  • Stipped Auto Interior
    Stripped Auto Interior
  • replacement headliner board
    Replacement Headliner Board
  • Headliner Fabric Repair
    Headliner Fabric Repair
  • restored headliner upholstery
    Restored Head Liner Upholstery

As you can see from the pictures above, the repair turned out great. We were able to restore the ceiling to mint condition. But, it wasn't easy.

 

How to Save Money on Headliner Repair

If you're handy in the garage, you can save money by removing your headliner and bringing it to us for repair. Depending on the car, that can be an easy task or borderline impossible.

One of our customers recently brought us this headliner from a 2002 Toyota Camry. He'd planned on recovering the board himself, but as you can see, it cracked during the removal process. Adding insult to injury, the replacement fabric and adhesive refused to cooperate.

  • camry headliner repair
    Partially Stripped Headliner Board
  • camry headliner repair
    Repair Cracked Headliner
  • camry headliner repair
    Repaired & Recovered Headliner

The cracked board and ruined fabric illustrate the pitfalls of do-it-yourself headliner replacement. We don't recommend it. But, if you can bring the headliner to us, the repair goes faster and costs less. Even after repairing the crack in the board, this customer saved quite a bit by bringing us the board. Instead of spending $500, it only cost him $250 to repair and recover his damaged headliner.

 

Repairing Headliner Without Removing Board

The Cadillac Eldorado dominated the domestic luxury car market in 1989. This is an unapologetically huge car with an equally oversized headliner. When a headliner on an Eldorado drops, it's like a circus tent collapsing.

  • headliner repair 1989 cadillac
    Damaged Headliner
  • headliner repair 1989 cadillac
    Stripped To The Board
  • headliner repair 1989 cadillac
    Recovered Headliner

With standard-sized cars we typically remove the headliner board through a side door, repair it, then reinstall the board. A car the size of a '89 Eldorado requires a different approach. Its headliner board is so large we'd have to extract it through the front of the car by first removing the windshield. Instead of that, we do the restoration work inside the car.

After removing the clips holding the headliner in place, we strip and clean the board while it's still in the car. Then we carefully smooth and cement the new fabric to the board. Twin vanity mirrors built into the ceiling add to the "degree of difficulty". As you might imagine, this sort of project is not for the faint of heart.

 

Preventing Shar-Pei Headliners

It takes more than a sheet of perforated fabric and a can of Home Depot spray glue to recover a drooping headliner. The bland old automotive headliner is being transformed into an extension of the control panel. Many are now fitted for gadgets, cubbyholes and sunroofs.

  • stripped headliner
    Gadgets and Cubbyholes
  • stripped headliner
    Fitting Headliner Fabric
  • stripped headliner
    Rolling Fabric Over Edge

It takes years of experience to seamlessly integrate all the cavities and sharp angles in today's high performance headliners. Fitting the fabric is only the beginning. Without a trained hand to seamlessly align, roll and smooth the fabric, you're asking for trouble. If it's not done right, you may end up with a Shar-Pei headliner!

 

New Headliner For Mercedes 300 SL

We usually repair a damaged headliner with original OEM fabric. But, the original vinyl weave fabric in a Mercedes 300SL removable hardtop is extremely difficult to repair; and it's not by accident. Mercedes-Benz doesn't want somebody to fix your damaged headliner, they want to sell you a brand new one.

We'd rather repair it and save you money!

  • preparing headliner
    Preparing Mercedes Headliner
  • Headlining Fabric
    Auto Headliner Repair
  • Headlining Fabric
    300SL Hard Top Repaired

Because the original headliner material is stiff and tends to wrinkle, a high performance aftermarket fabric is a much better alternative. In this instance, the car owner selected a light blue headliner fabric that matches the grab handles and interior trim.

Since the 300SL hardtop top "hatch" comes off, accessing the headliner board is easy. We recovered it in no time and saved the customer a ton of money.

 

Headliner For Vintage 1965 Mustang

The legendary Mustang was introduced in 1964. This one was manufactured the following year, which makes it more than half a century old. No wonder it needed a new headliner!

  • What A Great Car!
    Before Headliner Restoration
  • auto Headliner Replacement
    Auto Headliner Replacement
  • mustang headliner instllation
    Mustang Headliner Installation

Restoring the headliner for a vintage collector car takes skill and plenty of patience. We love this sort of challenge. As you can see, it turned out great. It looks just like it rolled off the showroom floor back in the day.