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#1220: Fernando's headliner problem -- Pin it to the roof

Car Talk 1220: “Fernando’s roof headliner is coming down. What can he do?”

Fernando complained to Tom and Ray that the headliner is drooping so much it hits his head while he drives. It’s annoying!

Fernando – you remember his call right? When his air conditioner stopped working, his solution was simply to remove the belt to the compressor – so he wants a fast and inexpensive fix to this headliner problem too. He’s willing to compromise.

Tom and Ray say to cut slits, and use adhesive, glue. That works. Even better if you have the time is to remove all the fasteners, take the entire headliner down, clean off all the old glue, and re-attach it using the special glue they sell in car parts stores made for re-gluing headliners.

But for Fernando, I have a faster and cheaper method. No glue involved. And no slits either. And I know it works, because I used this trick on my early 1990’s Corolla. How? Secure some straight pins, like what come in those packaged dress shirts you buy from Macys. You know, those little pins that poke your fingers as you try to unpackage the shirt? Those pins are perfect for securing the headliner to the roof!

When done correctly, spacing them appropriately, and keeping the pins as invisible as possible, it makes for a reasonbly presentable solution. Better than a badly done “slit and glue” job, at least in my opinion. It’s not as good as removing the entire headliner and regluing – true – but it only takes 10 minutes and there’s no sticky glue mess on your fingers or glue dripping on the car’s upholstery.

Fernando – after securing a couple dozen straight pins – is only 10 minute away from headliner free driving!

My Dad came up this idea for fixing a falling headliner. First staple the headliner in a pattern you like. My Dad did a diamond pattern. Then cover the staples with a cloth covered button using hot glue. Gave a custom look to the headline.