If you found this post, I’m sorry. Sorry that you are facing the dreaded ‘drooping headliner curse’. Your friends in the backseat, headliner mussing their hair. Little bits of foam sticking to your shirt before some important meeting. Not being able to see anything in your rear-view mirror. I’ve been there. I feel for you…
BUT, I am here to help you! Follow this picture guide to re-attach your headliner. This will cost you less than $20 and an hour or two max, or your time.
This is the situation I was faced with in my 2004 Honda Accord:
It could even be called a safety hazard since I had an obstructed view out the rear window…
Okay, let’s go ahead and get started.
Tools and Supplies:
- flat-bladed screwdriver
- 3M headliner adhesive spray
- Phillips screwdriver
- thin plastic putty knife (or credit card-type object)
- clean paint roller
- breathing masks
Here are the supplies I used.
The headliner was loose at the back, and a few patches were loose near the front as well. So the first step was to remove the dome light. Use a flat bladed screwdriver to pry between the transparent part and the opaque plastic, and pop out the lens.
Then remove the two Phillips-head screws, and the dome light housing will then pop out when you pry on it lightly with the flat screwdriver. Then unplug the power cord to it. Notice that it has a small tab that should be pressed down in order to remove it.
At this point, you have a decision to make, should you remove the other plastic parts on the ceiling, such as the handles, etc…? It really depends on how serious the problem of the drooping material is. If it is loose around these parts, then it is probably a good idea to remove those as well. In my case, the fabric was still holding in those regions, so I left them on.
The next step is to pull down the headliner enough so that you can reach all of the places where you need to spray the adhesive.
Note: You need to be able to spray the adhesive with the can 4″ to 8″ away from the surface that you are trying to glue. Spraying the adhesive further than this will cause it to clump up like silly-string and not adhere as well.
Alright, at this point, things could get a bit messy. Use an old sheet or a tarp, and spread it out over the seats to prevent as much dust and overspray from getting on them as possible.
There will be sticky foam still attached to the fabric. This will not allow the adhesive to stick very well, so remove as much of that as you can just by scraping it off with your finger.
Once the fabric is cleaned off, we are ready to start spraying the adhesive. A couple of notes to make things work better for you:
- The adhesive works best if it is sprayed 4-8 inches away from the surface. More than this, and it will not stick very well!
- Work in small patches at a time. For example, in this case it was best to spray the adhesive on about 6-12 inches, let the spray set for about 5 minutes, then press it into place. Avoid the temptation to just do it all at once.
- Don’t start pressing the headliner on too soon. Wait about 5 minutes, otherwise it will be too wet and will leave wet looking spots in your headliner!
- Don’t wait too long, either! More than about 10-15 minutes, and the adhesive will begin to dry up too much.
- The adhesive is VERY sticky. You only have one shot at pressing it into place. Trying to pull off a spot that has already been glued will not end well, therefore plan well so that you don’t have to do this!
- Don’t let the headliner fold back on itself with adhesive on it! It will stick to itself (have you ever had duct-tape fold back on itself, sticky-side to -sticky-side?). It will not be easy to get it apart, and will never look the same! This is particularly important near the back, where you have loose end that can easily curl back on itself.
Okay, ready? Let’s do this. The spray is quite strong, so make sure you are working in a well ventilated area, and wear a breathing mask if possible. Roll down the windows or open the doors as well.
Take your can of headliner adhesive and spray about 6″ worth of headliner, then let it set for 5 minutes.
Then, from underneath, use the clean paint roller to press the headliner into place, starting from the front and working backwards.
Once that is looking good, spray another 6 inches or so, let it set for 5 minutes, then press that into place with the roller.
Continue doing this until you get to the back. Then, use a scrap of cardboard to catch the over-spray, and press that into place with the roller.
Near the bulkheads, use the thin putty knife or credit card to press the headliner back into place behind the plastic.
Take care along the back edge as well. If it doesn’t line up perfectly, don’t be tempted to pull it off and try again, it will not work! This will show how well you did in smoothing the headliner from the front.
Give the headliner plenty of time to dry, then put the dome light back on.
And snap the lens cover back in place.
That’s it, nice work! I hope you found this helpful!
For more maintenance articles on Honda Accords, check out these posts!