Keeping your muscle car in top shape can be quite the challenge, after all, we are talking about your Ford, Holden, Chrysler, and so on built in the 1900s. As much as we appreciate the paintwork of that vintage finish, we often forget to give the interior of the car equal attention. In fact, this is probably one of the most neglected areas of the car, your interior car roof lining. At this age, many muscle cars undergo roof lining that has become worn out and contaminated. In fact, according to Schmicko, roof lining replacement and cleaning is one of the most popular requests they receive from customers looking to detail their muscle and vintage cars.
It is difficult to imagine how a car’s roof liner can collect dirt. However, splashes from liquids, or dirt left behind when the roof liner was touched by people’s hands, can leave the car roof lining appearing old and unpresentable. Luckily, the roof liner is relatively simple to clean compared to other parts of the car. With the right preparation, patience, and attention to the unique characteristics of a car’s roof lining, your roof liner should appear almost as good as new once you have properly cleaned it. Now time to bring your pride and joy to looking its best again, starting with the roof liner.
Important points to bear in mind
The first point to understand before you start is that car roof liner have a few unique characteristics. Some of the materials that a car roof liner could be made of include fabric, leather, and vinyl. This material is glued to the foam or cloth that is hidden behind it and it is this material that partially acts as the car’s insulation. If the effect of the adhesive is compromised during the cleaning process, the cover may detach itself from the ceiling and begin to sag. Applying too much pressure with the brush or the cloth could also damage the roof liner and leave it needing a full restoration. So, please do proceed with caution.
Equipment that you will need
Fortunately, the equipment that is required is affordable and easy to find. You will first need an upholstery cleaner or an all-purpose cleaner that is safe to use on your car’s roof liner. It is important that you read the instructions on the bottle and ask the store staff to ensure that this is the case. You will also need a clean microfiber cloth. Finally, you will need two clean brushes. One of the brushes should be small for removing smaller, lighter stains, and one should be slightly larger for cleaning the larger stains. You can purchase specialized cleaning brushes that are suited to the task in auto repair stores.
Spray the auto upholstery cleaner
Begin by spraying the cleaner onto the brush or the stained area, if on the stained area, start with a lesser amount as you do not need to saturate the roof. The advantage of spraying the cleaner onto the brush first is that the cleaner will not be sprayed onto other parts of the car (overspray). It also reduces the amount that is directly applied to the roof liner, allowing for a more cautious approach. If you do spray the cleaner onto the material, do not spray the entirety of the car roof lining and do not apply too much liquid. Should you require more cleaning power, a stronger dilution can be used since upholstery cleaners will need to be diluted with water, to begin with.
Lightly brush the material
Lightly brush the area in a circular motion and wait for the cleaner to form a foam. Remember to brush gently so that you do not damage the covering material or weaken the roof liner’s adhesive. Watch how the stain reacts to the cleaner at this stage to make sure that the cleaning process is working before you proceed to the next area.
Wipe away the dirt
Use your clean microfiber cloth to carefully wipe away the foam and the dirt in a circular motion. Once the area is clean, make sure you also remove any remaining excess cleaner. Repeat the process until all the stains have been removed and you have a clean car roof lining.
Need extra help?
If stains persist, we always recommend performing this process multiple times across different time periods. This allows you to reduce your chances of overloading the roof liner to too much pressure and shampoo and therefore less likely to create that saggy roof appearance.
What if my roof is way too dirty?
If your car roof lining is in a state that is very dirty and you are getting very little progress with this procedure, we would highly recommend a replacement of the liner material. Besides, this is your opportunity to change material or even color to your liking for a fresher look. Should you wish to have it replaced, one secret hack we would recommend is applying for interior fabric protection onto the liner material. Also known as a Ceramic Coating, you can find one designed for leather, vinyl or fabric textures. Apply this generously onto your liner material, obeying the instructions of course of the product manual, to provide you with a hydrophobic barrier making it less prone to stains in future and super easy to clean/maintain.
Well, there you have it, your simple guide to restoring and maintaining your car roof lining for any muscle car.
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