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What is an automotive headliner and where is it located?

In movies, the headliner gets all the recognition; in your car, truck, or SUV, your headliner may be more of an afterthought. Your headliner is the piece of padding and carpet attached to the ceiling in the interior of the vehicle. The headliner provides some insulation as well as some noise reduction, and is also used to hide any wiring, etc. that is run through the top of the vehicle, providing a nice, finished look to your vehicle’s interior. If you happen to bang your head on the automobile’s ceiling, then you would probably prefer to hit the soft headliner than bare metal as well. 

Prior to 1974, cars used fabric headliners made out of material from the likes of vinyl (most common) to regular upholstery material. These types of headliners were suspended from the vehicle's ceiling with flexible metal rods or bows, which ran through the headliner material, holding the fabric in place against the roof panel. These auto headliners are sold sewn together with the pockets for the bows. Most of the pre-1974 car and truck headliners we sell here at 1A Auto come with the matching vinyl fabric covered cardboard side panels. These panels mount between the side and rear windows.

After 1974, car and truck manufacturers transitioned to a molded pressboard style headliner. These automotive headliners have a rigid cardboard backing and are covered with foam backed cloth, which is glued to the headliner board. They are typically held in place by clips or some other accessory. These can be prone to sagging for a couple of reasons which will be discussed in the following section.

How do I know if my headliner needs to be replaced?

Interior car and truck headliners can trap dirt, moisture, and odors. You may wish to replace your headliner simply to have a cleaner, neater car and more pleasant driving experience. Otherwise a saggy headliner can be a major inconvenience, an eyesore, and quite dangerous if it happens to fall off completely while driving.

Headliners can sag for a couple of reasons: The headliner’s cardboard backing can absorb moisture and become weak and loose, and the foam can also degrade over time and let go of the fabric material. Replacement headliners from 1A Auto can solve the issue in two ways. First, the rigid back is a molded ABS plastic that will not absorb moisture. Second, the foam backing of the headliner is now poly-based so that it will not degrade. Our car and truck interior headliners are sold as the headliner only. You will need to retain and re-use your original mounting hardware.

Can I install a headliner replacement myself?

Although the headliner is not the most technically complicated part of your vehicle by any stretch of the imagination, it can take some effort and lots of patience to install. Older and newer styles of headliners will of course install differently. 

In either case, you will have to remove the sun visors, dome light, and any other parts that stand between you and the headliner. It would be wise to take pictures or make a sketch of all the pieces attached to the ceiling to make reinstallment easier. 

For older models, you will have to remove the metal bows that hold the liner from the roof frame, put the bows into the new headliner material in the same order as before, and put the bows into place. It might help to label the bows to keep them in order. 

If you are applying new fabric to an old headliner board, you will need to scrape the old foam from the headliner board with a wire brush or fine sandpaper and trim the new fabric material. If you are installing a completely new, plastic-backed headliner replacement, you’ll just have to install it with the fasteners from the old headliner. The dome light is a fairly natural first mounting point when you begin to fasten the headliner and reinstall the various accessories to the ceiling. 

Need a headliner replacement?

When it comes to your vehicles’ interior, there are not too many things more annoying than a sagging, or worse, separated headliner. Not only does it look sad, it can also be quite dangerous if it happens to fall down while driving, obscuring your line of sight. If you are having a problem with your car or truck’s headliner and are in need of a replacement, then look no further than 1A Auto! We carry both the vinyl fabric headliners for vehicles built prior to 1974, as well as the foam backed cloth headliners with molded ABS plastic headliner board for newer models. We stock only the highest quality, best fitting, aftermarket headliners available in order to provide your car or truck’s interior with that clean, sharp, new look once again! So don't be fooled by cheaper made imitation headliners - go with superior quality!

At 1A Auto, we make shopping for replacement headliners for your car or truck easy - we're here to help you select the right parts for your vehicle! Call our customer service toll free at 888-844-3393 if you have any questions about our aftermarket interior headliners, warranty, compatibility or to purchase, or you can buy online.

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