Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fix sagging auto headliner for a dollar

When I first moved out to sunny (translation: HOT) southern California, my poor aged east coast car reacted badly.

First, my rear view mirror fell off my wind shield. The intense heat melted the glue and the weight of my 50-foot rear view mirrors just caused them to plop onto the floor - yikes!

Then, the fabric on the inside roof of the car started to sag. What the heck? I never saw such a thing. Apparently the intense heat of the sun pounding on the roof has some chemical reaction with the foam that is between the metal and the fabric and horribly enough, the fabric starts to sag into the car. It can get so bad that you just can't even drive the car anymore.

Before I could even find out what to do to solve my problem, I had to figure out what to name my problem in order to search for a solution. It took quite awhile before I figured out that people in the automotive repair world call this geriatric auto ailment a "sagging headliner." Who knew? I thought a sagging headliner was a past-her-prime thespian's body condition prior to plastic surgery.

First, I called around to find out how much it would cost to get a new headliner put in. The estimates varied, but all of them were higher than the value of the car.

Then, I decided to find out how to fix it myself. I am an extremely good researcher and a fairly awesome do-it-yourselfer, but when I found these instructions on how to take out the old lining, scrape off the old foam, cut a new liner, spray the new liner and glue it back in, I decided there HAD to be a better way.

Then, finally I found one little website that advertised these little buggers...

These are called, appropriately, Saggy Stoppers. You can find them in most auto repair stores. They sell 6 of them for between $4 and $6 dollars. This was amazing! But then, I recalled that this little metal screw with a clear plastic top was exactly what my mother used to use to keep the armrest protectors on the couch in our living room.

So, I found a local upholstery shop (they DO still exist) and bought a dozen of these little babies for a dollar! Screwed them into the headliner in a lovely pattern and no more problem.

For those of you who still want to try and replace your headliner yourself, here is a video to show you how to do it. Good luck!

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