Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.

Headliner dye?


S85 and S100D
Jun 3, 2019
Las Vegas
My 2013’s headliner and pillar trim are starting to show their age. The beige color looks somewhat dingy and shows every bit of dirt and picks up handprints very easily. There is some staining that I’m unable to remove which is beginning to trigger my OCD. My car has black carpet, grey seats, and the aforementioned beige pieces. Lately, I’ve been wondering how it would look if I ditched the beige for all black. I‘m thinking the two tone with the grey seats, door, and dash inserts would look pretty decent. Looking around the used parts market, it seems an all black headliner for a solid roof car is a unicorn.

That leads me to wonder about the feasibility of using some type of spray dye on the headliner and pillar trim. After tearing down the dash and door yesterday to replace the MCU bezel and rebuild a door handle, I’m fairly confident I could get all of pieces out for spraying. I’m not worried about the dye transferring to clothes or rubbing off.

Anyone have any experience with this method, or would it be better to have it recovered by an upholstery shop?
  • Like
Reactions: blodg1


Active Member
Jul 24, 2017
Greenville Wisconsin
Not on a Tesla but I have used SEM has products that work great on leather and vinyl, I even used it to change burgundy carpet on the side of a center console to tan.

Upholstery & Trim | Market | SEM Products.

A headliner is going to be challenging to mask everything else but I think it could be done.

How many miles are on the car? If the windshield is etched and pitted I might consider replacing it, in which case if you have the garage space you might have the glass shop pull and leave allowing you to pull the headliner. I know it sounds crazy but I think it is worth considering. Masking to do this in car overhead is going to be tough.
We often don't notice windshield getting worn out but they do, if you have ever had a higher mileage windshield broken it is stunning the improve a new one makes in night wet weather driving in particular.

I should say I haven't priced glass for an S. If it is $4-500 I would seriously consider springing for it, if it is $1200 I might not.


Active Member
Jul 21, 2015
Greenville, SC
I have used SEM product for years with superb results. They can be custom mixed also. With that said, you would be much better off just cleaning the fabric properly than trying to dye over the dirt. The dye is not going to stick to the dirt very well.


S85 and S100D
Jun 3, 2019
Las Vegas
Thanks for the feedback guys. Unfortunately, the staining is so bad in some places, no amount of scrubbing I’ve been able to do makes it look good anymore. I’ve jumped right into this project. All the trim is out of the car and I’ve sprayed two pieces - one with Rustoleum gloss, one with Duplicator flat. They are very close, but the gloss definitely looks darker and may be a better match for the black vinyl in the car. My plan is to paint all the trim prices individually, then mask the inside of the car with a lot of sheets and spray the headliner in place (well ventilated with a respirator!).

Pics so far:


  • F615E3A0-69C9-4012-A96B-1B171967BB6D.jpeg
    602.9 KB · Views: 137
  • FAFB5F88-891C-498B-BFED-8E331EC84613.jpeg
    1.3 MB · Views: 135
  • 2FFDCF41-7C42-4808-BC53-B6C7A06C0562.jpeg
    651.3 KB · Views: 139
  • 207503E6-49B0-4FA3-AC7F-1A5F1A844A08.jpeg
    459.9 KB · Views: 142
  • Helpful
Reactions: blodg1


S85 and S100D
Jun 3, 2019
Las Vegas
Finished, and I’m so happy I tackled this one. All in all, it was about 10 hours of work between disassembly, painting, trial and error, and reassembly. I’m covered in paint speckles and ready for a beer!

I ended up coating everything with a base coat of duplicilor (no other brands available locally) flat black fabric dye for the initial color change. I followed up with a second coat of duplicolor gloss black on top to darken it up. I used 8 or 9 cans total. I think the darker headliner really enhances the contrast of the grey door inserts, and it looks cleaner.

I love projects like this because it forces you to learn how some of the systems work. Today I leaned how the seat belt buckles are constructed. Disassembling them was really the only way to get the B pillars apart for painting. Kind of intricate little buggers with the spring mechanisms on each side.

Pics - The first one has nothing to do with COVID-19


  • 66E260D0-CF9D-49BA-B236-26F18B33119E.jpeg
    477.4 KB · Views: 144
  • B2752A51-EB00-47CD-B9BF-808AEB95F0E8.jpeg
    390 KB · Views: 156
  • 15E988EA-F786-40BA-AAE3-F057C327FD89.jpeg
    324.5 KB · Views: 152
  • 97DA07EA-3F68-4B58-88BE-CBA5F623261F.jpeg
    283 KB · Views: 150
  • ADCBB930-1991-4BE6-ADE6-652A36C172D5.jpeg
    339.4 KB · Views: 149
  • AEF6C528-C537-43A5-B450-5E769513DD76.jpeg
    288.8 KB · Views: 146
  • C8E19F92-4DCF-4235-96E2-2FB7FD18541E.jpeg
    214.2 KB · Views: 143
  • 2BF158BD-7C0B-4E3B-B497-69252DFAFDFB.jpeg
    285.8 KB · Views: 141


Jason Barker
Jan 11, 2018
Beaverton, Oregon
Is the fabric still soft? Or does it feel a little crispy. That looks awesome btw.
Great question!
This is the benefit of using a designated interior paint, it dries more flexible than regular paint.
Another detailer's trick is after the paint is dry, with a gloved hand or light brush, rub on it to break loose any particles and restore flexibility. If this flakes off too much paint and reveals the color beneath then you either didn't prep the surface properly, or just mist on another coat and repeat.


S85 and S100D
Jun 3, 2019
Las Vegas
Clearer pics of trim - this time with daylight!


  • 53371AE6-AE9C-418D-93D5-46532681B510.jpeg
    430.6 KB · Views: 151
  • 0172544C-3C82-4B78-AB4D-C7F911CB9FCA.jpeg
    405.1 KB · Views: 140
  • F7FE04B5-ED7D-4A2D-A674-BEB33FF9E48A.jpeg
    648.5 KB · Views: 146
  • 4362ED6D-D97C-4557-BC50-4D3D60F1AF42.jpeg
    390.3 KB · Views: 148


Sep 28, 2017
North Carolina
So... I'm a big fan, at least in theory, of the lighter-colored headliners. (I'm a prospective Model S buyer - looking for grey or white interior -only). Do you feel the whole interior is darker now? or do you not notice it? Thanks for this thread, I will make sure any on-line seller sends me photos of the headliner before buying.


S85 and S100D
Jun 3, 2019
Las Vegas
There is an unused connector under the microphone grate between the visors. It has 12v and ground available. I ran wires from there to both sides and spliced directly into the visors. Works great!


Nov 18, 2018
Albany, NY
I tackled mine this weekend too thanks to your thread. I hated the tan and there were watermarks around the sunroof from previous owner...all better now :) Thanks for this thread
  • Like
Reactions: ‘Merica

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.