How Much Does Car Headliner Repair Cost?

Last Updated on March 2, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

The car headliner is the fabric that covers the interior roof of a vehicle. Over time, headliners can start to sag, tear, or detach from the ceiling due to damage from the sun, moisture, or normal wear and tear.

Repairing or replacing your headliner can restore the aesthetic appeal of your car’s interior and potentially increase its resale value. However, headliner repairs can be costly depending on the make and model of your vehicle and whether you opt for a DIY or professional service.

This guide breaks down the key factors that determine car headliner repair costs to help you make the best choice for your needs and budget.

How Much Does Car Headliner Repair Cost?

Headliner repair costs anywhere between $150 and $2,000 depending on the make and model of your vehicle, the complexity of the repair, and whether you go to a professional or choose a DIY approach. Here are some figures for what you can expect to pay for a full headliner replacement from a professional shop:

  • Smaller economy sedans: $400-$700
  • Midsize sedans: $600-$900
  • Full-size sedans and small SUVs: $800-$1,200
  • Midsize luxury SUVs: $1,200-$1,800
  • Full-size luxury SUVs and trucks: $1500-$2,500
  • Luxury cars like Mercedes and BMWs: $2,000+

DIY Repair Cost Breakdown

  • Headliner replacement kit: $100-$500
  • Adhesives and supplies: $20-$50
  • Potential costs: Headliner removal tools, storage space for your headliner while working
  • Total: $150-$600+ depending on vehicle

Professional Repair Cost Range

  • Shop fees: $100-150/hour labor
  • Headliner material: $100-600+
  • Total: $400-2000+ depending on car and service extent

According to GetJerry, the cost of fixing a car headliner can range from $100 to $500 if you take it to a shop or as little as $50 if you purchase a kit and do it yourself.

SlashGear writes that the cost of fixing a sagging car headliner can range from $200 to $400 or more, depending on factors like the make and model of your car, whether it’s a small sedan or a luxury vehicle, and whether you or the mechanic need to use a factory-supplied replacement kit.

Car Talk says that the average cost to replace a car’s headliner will be $500 to $1,000, but this price is skewed towards high-volume models likely to have aftermarket parts kits available. Expect the cost to be higher for fancy cars with ceiling-mounted interior features like speakers and a moonroof.

A Reddit post revealed that the cost of getting a headliner replaced can be as low as $300 at any upholstery shop or as low as $100 if you take it down to “Little Mexico” in LA or Phoenix.

Car Headliner Repair Overview

What is a Car Headliner?

The headliner is the fabric that covers the interior roof of a vehicle, essentially serving as the ceiling. Headliners are made of a foam backing layered with fabric, and attached to the roof with adhesive and pins. Common headliner materials include cloth, suede, vinyl, and perforated leather.

This interior lining also often incorporates features like dome lighting, overhead storage, and sunroof flaps.

Common Issues and Causes of Damage

Over time, headliners can start to sag, detach, bubble, tear, or crack due to:

  • Sun damage – UV rays can cause the fabric to fade and weaken.
  • Moisture damage – Leaks can lead to water stains, mold, or deterioration of the adhesive.
  • Wear and tear – The fabric can tear from repeated contact with passengers and cargo. Adhesive can also fail with vibration and normal use over time.

These issues not only look unsightly but can also pose safety hazards if the headliner obstructs the driver’s vision or detaches while driving.

Factors Influencing Repair Costs

The Role of Vehicle Make and Model

The make and model of your vehicle significantly impacts the cost and complexity of a headliner repair. Luxury cars and newer vehicles typically have more complex headliners with additional features and expensive materials. Repairing these intricate headliners requires more labor time, skill, and specialized tools.

Older, economy cars tend to have simpler cloth headliners that are generally more affordable to repair, often under $500. High-end cars like Mercedes, BMWs, and Audis can cost $1000 or more just in labor for headliner replacement.

Material and Labor Costs

For DIY repairs, your main upfront costs will be the headliner replacement kit and adhesive/supplies which can range from $50-500+ depending on the size and material quality.

Professional repairs require paying shop fees for labor and materials. Labor alone often costs $200-500 for basic fabric replacements, but can exceed $1000 or more for luxury cars. Materials can range from $100-600+.

DIY Repair vs. Professional Service

DIY headliner repairs allow you to save on labor but require hands-on skills, tools, adequate workspace, and the ability to remove/reinstall your headliner. Shops have experience, specialized tools, and lift access for seamless replacement – but charge premium service fees.

Basic DIY kit costs start around $100-300 while professional repairs often exceed $500+.

Choosing the Right Repair Option

Deciding between DIY vs. professional headliner repair depends on your budget, skills, tools, and the complexity of your vehicle’s headliner. Here are some key considerations:

You can also read our articles about the cost of car undercoating, rust repair, and keyed car fix.

Evaluating DIY Repair Kits

  • Assess your technical skills, tools, workspace
  • Quality of material and fitment for your specific car
  • Ability to fully remove and reinstall the headliner yourself

Selecting a Professional Upholstery Service

  • Search for experienced headliner repair specialists
  • Read reviews and ask to see past work and material options
  • Get multiple quotes for accurate pricing
  • Look for warranties on parts and labor

For complex jobs, professional services may provide the best results and warranties, even if more expensive. Simple headliner replacements can be DIY-friendly.

Maintenance and Prevention Tips

Headliner ReplacementRegular maintenance and care are very important to preventing headliner damage in the first place:

  • Park in the shade whenever possible to limit sun exposure
  • Clean gently with upholstery cleaner and microfiber cloths
  • Avoid prolonged moisture contact by fixing any leaks promptly
  • Limit direct contact like brushing hair or cargo friction

Even with preventive care, headliners may eventually need replacement due to normal wear. However careful maintenance can add years before major sagging, cracking, or detachment occurs.

Final Words

The costs to repair your car’s headliner can vary drastically based on the make and model of the vehicle, whether you DIY or hire a professional, and the extent of the damage. Factors like labor rates, material choices, and installation challenges for your specific car impact the final price as well.

With some research and cost comparisons between repair shops, you can find the best solution that balances your budget with a quality repair to revitalize your car’s interior. Keeping your headliner properly maintained can also help avoid major sagging or detachment issues down the road.

Frequently Asked Questions

How hard is it to replace a headliner?

For a DIY headliner replacement, the difficulty level largely depends on your vehicle’s make and model. On some older economy cars, it may only require removing a few trim pieces before the headliner can be accessed and swapped out.

But luxury or performance models can require fully disassembling the roof lining and interior components, which makes it far more challenging for the average car owner to tackle alone.

How long does it take to replace a car headliner?

The time required to replace a headliner ranges from 2 hours for simple DIY jobs on basic vehicles, up to 8-10 hours in some cases for professional replacements on higher-end cars.

The process involves fully removing the old headliner, cleaning the roof surface, cutting the new material to fit, gluing and installing, and reassembling trim pieces. Letting adhesive cure adds more time as well.

What is the best way to fix a sagging headliner?

For minor sagging in one section, headliner repair kits can re-adhere the fabric using spray adhesive and wire lifter tools to stretch and smooth out small bubbles or tears. But if the sagging and detachment are extensive, a full replacement becomes the most effective option for properly restoring the headliner and your car’s interior aesthetic.

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