Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

No insulation in my roof---hot head!

My 2001 Subaru Outback sedan seems to have lost its’ insulation in the roof as my head feels like it’s baking whenever the weather is hot and the temperature up there is at least 10 degrees above the rest of the interior. I asked my mechanic about it and he suggested the (awful) possibility that mice have gotten in there and made off with my insulation, a problem he had no idea how to solve, but which he has seen once before. I can see how this might have happened as I did have a mouse nest in my blower motor last Fall.

The only solution I can think of is to tape a space blanket or some other kind of insulating material to my headliner. I don’t care what it looks like as I plan to drive it until the wheels fall off and I don’t want to go through the hassle of removing/replacing the headliner.

Any great ideas out there??



Moretown, Vermont

I’m having trouble conceptualizing how mice could eat the insulation without it being very noticable. It’s not like your car has an attic-- the insulation is glued to the roof and the headliner is glued to it. I’m also not entirely sure if the insulation would make that much of a difference temperature wise, since it’s mostly there for sound deadening. I’ve driven plenty of cars with just bare metal roofs and have never noticed the roof being particularly warm.

Have you washed your car lately? A wash and a nice shiny coat of wax might reflect more sunlight and cool things down. Or, alternatively, is it possible that your A/C just isn’t working as efficiently as it used to?

The odds of mice eating anything in the headliner is pretty far-fetched. The odds of the A/C system on a 10 year old Subaru not performing as well as it once did are much greater.

Stick a small thermometer in one of the dashboard vents the next time you’re traveling on the highway and see what the outlet temperature is at a steady highway speed.
This is not a diagnostic procedure that will tell you that this or that is wrong but it can give you a general indication if the outlet air temp is not cold enough.

I’m inclined to think that mice would have left an aroma that you might have noticed long before the temperature became a concern. So I guess I’m with the others that the rodent theory is unlikely.

I agree that the “mouse scenario” is unlikely, bordering on impossible. As was already said, there is essentially no space between the headliner of the car and the roof. You have a steel roof with insulation bonded to the inside of it, and then you have the headliner which is bonded to the insulation. If the mice ate the insulation, inevitably there would be holes in the headliner. I have to question what the OP’s mechanic is smoking.

As to what is causing the problem (or the illusion of a problem), I believe that it has to be either of two situations:

An A/C that is no longer working properly. Naturally the air near the car’s ceiling will be hotter, as hot air rises. But, if the A/C outlet air temperature is not as cold as it should be, then the temperature differential will be much more obvious.

A medical problem
If the OP has high blood pressure, or if she is experiencing elevated body temperature due to a variety of medical conditions, it is very possible for her to feel like her head is much hotter than the rest of her body. If the A/C outlet temp is normal, I would suggest that she consult a physician for a complete physical exam.

I don’t believe the mouse tale either.
BUT, if the heat is a real issue, removing the headliner to put your space blanket in there, IS the solution.

You have radiant heat from the hot roof metal. What color is your car? A space blanket could help but would be a hassle to install in most cars - headliners being hard to remove. If you can stand it aesthetically, painting the roof white or silver will make a noticeable diff.

When your AC is on, put it on Recirc and direct the air through the dashboard vents and up toward the ceiling. After things get comfy up there, switch to Fresh and direct air where you want it.