How to fix the sagging headliner in a car

Hello all my favorite people. How was your weekend? I spent a little time fixing the headliner in our minivan. The heat and humidity here in Roatan caused the once normal ceiling in my van to sag. It started with the area directly over the driver seat, then the passenger, then it just got bad from there. I researched getting it replaced, or even re-glued, but that does not exist here… so I found an easy, quick, and very inexpensive solution:

How to fix the headliner in your car Before and After -

These little babies really helped out:

how to fix a car head liner with sequin pins -

I had never heard of Sequin Pins until someone handed me this cute little box of them. These have some serious old Hollywood glam to them and they only cost 25 cents back in the day. I did a little research (read: google) into Dorthy Flicek Industries. It looks like she was the Martha Stewart of her day (1950s). Not only did she make sewing patterns, instructional books and magazines on how to craft for the home, but she also produced her own notions. Way to go Dorthy. I love using vintage notions. I feel more awesome, I do not know why, but I do. So these little pins are tiny, only 1/2″ long, and are exactly what you need.

My first order of business was to fix the front seam of the headliner.

how to fix a car head liner front seam -

Much better. As you can see, the headliner had fallen at the front seam and was hanging down and touching the rear view mirror. Thats a good 3″-4″, right in front of my face. So this is already a huge improvement.

The Sequin pins slide easily into the foam that is between the metal roof and the fabric headliner. For the seams, the pins actually lay parallel to the floor and slide from the front window toward the back of the car.  I started in the middle, secured the edges, and then pinned in between those areas in order to have a secure and smooth fit. Here’s a visual explanation:

how to fix a car ceiling liner -

how to fix a sagging car head liner -

I actually started in the middle of the car, above the rear view mirror and did three pins there, starting in the middle. Then I did the above diagrams on both the driver and the passenger side of the headliner seam.

Let’s see that before and after again, shall we?

how to fix a car head liner front seam -

See how that sagging headliner was a problem? Now, it’s not.

I showed the husband and he was like, “How did you do that?” I seriously wish I had had a Harry Potter wand so I could have been all “Headliner Repairo” all Hermione-esque. The husband inspected it and he was quite impressed. He said “Wow, you can’t even see the pins, how cool.” I thought that was a very nice compliment to my work, and the genius of this method, it works well, is secure, and you cannot even see it.

In total I used 21 pins for the front seam of the headliner. Not bad.

I also fixed the entire ceiling with pins, I chose to use a diamond pattern, as I figured it would give the most hold while using the least amount of pins and there would be less chance of lines being crooked if I did it this way. I did not want to bust out a ruler, so I eye-balled it. And can I just say: Nailed it.

How to fix the headliner in your car Before and After -

how to fix a car ceiling liner -

how to repair a sagging ceiling in your car -

For the ceiling I simply used my right hand to smooth the fabric and decide on pin placement then used my left to stick the pin vertically into the fabric. Easy peasy. I started in the front at the driver’s-side, then did the front passenger-side. I then did the middle driver’s-side seat, and middle passenger-side seat, and lastly, the back seat/trunk area. I made sure that for each section I kept the driver’s-side and passenger-sides as mirror images of one another so that the pins essentially are the same on each side. I did not want to have 20 pins on one side and only 15 on the other and someone to go “Whoa, what happened there?’ So this strategy of doing “sections” of the ceiling worked well for me.

I love that the fabric of the ceiling is no longer grazing my hair when I sit in the car – which is mildly annoying, and is no longer flapping in the breeze either – which was way annoying. It makes the car feel so much cleaner and secure. Another reason I discovered why I never want the ceiling liner touching me again is what my hands looked like afterwards:

how to fix your car's sagging ceiling fabric -

ugh. That’s not a good look. I never want to touch the ceiling fabric in anyone’s car ever again.

I am very happy with the results. It has been 3 days and I have not had to redo anything, the Sequin Pins are holding their own. Good job lil guys! I will update you guys is this solution ends up being a terrible idea in a few weeks. But, I see good things on the horizon.

Do you have a car ceiling that needs repair? Have you tried this? Did it work for you?


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  1. How reliable are those pins and how long you expect they going to hold the upholstery before replacement? thanks
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  3. I did something similar to my first car…a long time ago.Now I’m married to a mechanic- a few years ago he needed his headliner replaced and found a guy that does auto reupholstery to do it for $150.My husband bought the material-a Hawaiian print tapestry fabric.When we picked up the car,the headliner looked like an old lady couch with hula girls all over it.That was over five years ago.It has given us many laughs and even got us out of a ticket once(the cop looked up,saw the headliner, and laughed all the way back to his squad car).


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