Interior Trim and Panels                                                                                 FAQ Home

 Volvo Maintenance FAQ for 7xx/9xx/90 Cars                                                                                                                     Version 5.0

Heater Control Trim Removal

Headlight/Fog Light Switch Trim Removal

Headliner Repair

Headliner Replacement

Headliner Cleaning

Dash Covers for Cracked Vinyl

Dashboard Crack Repair

Visor Repair or Replacement

Replacement Carpet Source

Interior Lamps

Interior Trim Panel Removal Notes

Door Panel Removal

745/945 Wagon Trim Panel Removal and Access


Armorall on Trim


Heater Control Trim Removal. [Tip: Peter Gotseff]  Start from outboard side (right side) rock up and down and pull gently to unclip the upper and lower right side panel clips. Now grasp panel firmly and pull out and left to unclip the big center spring clip holding panel to the dash panel cutout.  It often feels like its sure to break but hasn't yet.

Headlight/Fog Light Switch Trim Removal [Tip: Peter Gotseff] As with the Heater Control Panel there is a large and stubborn spring clip.  You must start from the outboard side (left side) and either pulling by hand or prying slightly with a flatbladed screwdriver unclip the clip and remove the panel.  Don't start near the steering wheel since the panel has plastic clips that slide behind the dash cutout .. and they will break if pried too hard.

Headliner Repair. Qualified to work on your Headliner. You need to ask a lot of Questions to Qualify the shop that is to work on your car. THIS IS NOT A DO IT YOUR SELFER JOB !!!! Let the pro's do it, If you had a Domestic I would walk you through it. Don't stop there, they may be Referred by the Volvo Store & be Craftsman in their field of upholstery but that does not mean they are Qualified to work on your car. Its your responsibility to check them out. Remember to insist on the 1/8th inch material . Most Upholstery Shops don't always use the 1/8th inch material because most of their headliner work is DOMESTIC Cars & Trucks which uses 1/4". They don't like Expensive Material sitting around on their shelves.

Also a Biggie, I forgot to mention make sure they order new 1/8th inch Material. You want first run material. not blems, not over runs, and not their old stock that has been sitting on their shelf for the past few years.

At this point you have to discuss Price, My Company is referred by 3 Volvo dealerships here in Central Florida ( The Sunshine State ). Sedan or Wagons usually Cost around $ 325.00 Which includes the Sunroof Panel and a full service to the sunroof. I would also recommend you have your Sunroof Seal Replaced at the same time This cost around $ 80.00 it will Minimize the water flow into the Sunroof Carriage. This will extend the life of the new headliner, you just had installed. Think of it as a Insurance Policy.

[Another Comment:] I, like all other 8+ year old 740 owners, had the same problem with my headliner coming apart. Adhesives will NOT hold it up, even temporarily, since the layer of disintegrated foam that remains attached to the headliner board will continue to flake off and not provide anything for the adhesive to stick to (believe me, I tried!!).

Headliner Replacement.  [Tips from David Jeff who ignored the above and bravely did the headliners in three 740s on his own]   [Editor's note: the Volvo OEM Body Fittings, Exterior technical manual has an excellent series of illustrations and procedures for those interested in DIY headliner repair or replacement.]  I will gladly share my headliner experiences. My family fleet of Volvos (6) is made up of '85 to '88 740s and 760s. I don't buy Volvos until they are 10 years old and beyond 100,000 miles; but, I've concluded that all 700 series headliners regardless of care or climate, will sag before 10 years of service. Sagging generally starts in the domed section of the headliner over the backseat passengers. The foam usually initially stays glued to the headliner board. The fabric just separates from the foam. The weight of the sagging fabric and busy young hands in the back seat pulling at the sagging fabric quickly accelerate the process.
    If upholstery pins or small screws can be carefully installed to better secure the fabric to the board, I think the sagging process can be slowed down significantly. However, the only long term solution is to remove the headliner board from the car and glue new headliner fabric. I've done 3 - 700 sedans. Last year I priced a replacement board at the local Volvo dealer. I remember something like $350? (parts only - not installed) Local upholstery shops that advertised headliners as low as $99 were in the $450 range for my Volvo. Thus my decision to replace it myself.
    I have read that only 1/8" foam-backed headliner fabric should be used. Generally, upholstery shops stock only 1/4" My opinion is to use the readily available, thicker fabric for the headliner and use the thinner stuff for the sunroof itself. (I have used 1/4" for sunroof and have been successful in getting them adjusted to operate properly. However, my next effort will be 1/8" for the sunroof.) The thicker stock headliner fabric does a better job of masking any irregularities in the board surface.
    To begin, I think you need to completely remove the headliner board from the car. I'm not sure what the board is made of. It's fragile and somewhat brittle. It's not particleboard. It's not fiberglass. It is some kind of molded pressboard with a brown wax paper glued to the top side. The board is secured on plastic strips above the windshield and the back window. At the rear there is a square plastic fastener about 1" from the edge in the middle of the back window. Plastic trim pieces screw in above the doors holding the sides and a plastic molded trim strip secures it to the sunroof opening. The electric sunroof motor cover, the dome light and the sunvisors and rearview mirror secure the rest. I recommend removing the upper half of the backseat (it's in the way to remove the trim pieces around the rear side windows) Crank both front seats all the way back as low as possible. Remove the trim (8 pieces, 4 each side) the visors, the mirror and the sunroof trim. Don't forget the fastener at the back. With a helper, attempt to carefully lower it and pass it through the passenger front door (biggest hole) Without excellent help and great luck, you will break the board where the rear view mirror attaches and along both sides of the sunroof opening.
    Once out of the car; it's time to repair the board and prepare it for re-gluing new headliner material. Coarse sandpaper will quickly remove the foam and dried glue. Sanding and painting should be all that is required for most boards.  Some present greater challenges and require more patience. My first board was busted up before I even tried to get it out. I laid the pieces out on a flat table. I used wooden yardsticks and paint stirrers for support on the top side of the board. The yardsticks ran from front to back providing additional support to the board along the sides of the sunroof opening. More support may be needed around the rearview mirror and sun visors. Drilling holes and securing the boards with flathead machine screws are excellent in re-establishing the headliner board. Carpet seam tape also does great to secure this extra reinforcing. After sanding down the bottom side getting it ready to reglue; I used yellow mesh sheet rock tape (real sheetrock men use paper tape. This is the stuff sold for those of us with less sheetrock savy) Anyway, this mesh tape provides a great foundation for bondo. I used bondo to re-construct the board. I sanded the bondo smooth. Duct tape can be used to redefine the edges of the board. Then I painted the board with latex paint just to be sure my new headliner fabric would have a good surface to stick well so it wouldn't sag again in a few years.  Hopefully, you won't have to totally rebuild your board. But, I still prefer this over $350.
    I bought new foam-backed headliner fabric at an auto interior supply store. I've read on SB that most fabric is thicker than that used by Volvo. I don't know why that's a big deal. I buy 3 yards (roughly $7/yard.)  I have discovered to headliner suppliers on the internet: Anthony's Upholstery Shop in Tampa Florida  ( and Gilbreath Upholstery Supply in Des Moines, Iowa (  Also see for 700/900 headliner kits. I have not done any business with either.  I think Anthony's has 1/8" fabric.  3M makes a spray glue ("3M General Trim Adhesive - Clear Part No. 051135-08088") made specifically for this purpose. I've found it at WalMart cheaper than the auto interior supply store.
    The glue is sprayed uniformly on both the fabric and the board. It sets 1 to 3 minutes. Follow the directions on the can! You get one good chance to place the fabric where you want it. I cut the fabric 6" longer than the board. I then fold the fabric in 3 sections - no cutouts for sunroof. I glue one section at a time. I get my helper and start at the rear being sure to totally anchor the molded section allowing headroom for the backseat. After doing all 3 sections, trim to 1" around edge and flip over and spray glue to secure. For the sunroof opening - cutout leaving 6" fabric to secure to the roof opening in the sunroof frame. (The first time, I neatly trimmed to the board and figured out I didn't leave enough fabric after I got it back in the car.)
    Try real hard to get the new headliner board back on the roof without breaking it.  Replacing a headliner takes me most of a weekend. I think I've told you everything I know about headliners except about the sunroof itself. The sunroof is a project all by itself. I've done one sunroof. The 1st headliner job I did was a little over a year ago. There is no evidence of any sagging.

Headliner Cleaning. [How to clean headliner without destroying it.] The majority view was that I shouldn't attempt it and that it would probably dissolve the glue and make the headliner fall down. Since it was really dirty (dust, various spots and water marks), I bravely decided to give it a try nevertheless. Remember that this was done to a 1987 780, with a beige velvet-like headliner. It may not work for other cars and, for all I know, there may be a much better way. Anyway, this worked.

Dash Covers for Cracked Vinyl Dash Panels.  [Query] I've been looking at a nice 1990 740 Turbo. The only thing that bothers me about the car is that it has a severely cracked dash. Is this common in the 740's? Is it difficult to replace, or not worth the bother?  [Response 1: Landon Sheely] From what I have read in this group over the past year and my experience with my '88 744, I have been able to gather the following:  This is a very common problem.  (Mine has done it in three places to date.)  According to popular thought, there seems to be some correlation between using the "Armor All" branded product and the cracking.  (FWIW, I used it on mine)  I have seen a  number of folks in the group warn against Armor All and recommend the use of another, more beneficial product.  (Meguiar's)   You can obtain a replacement dash from Volvo, but it is prohibitively expensive.  The most popular fix I have heard of is the installation of a dash cap.  As soon as I can get the time, I will probably end up purchasing and installing one myself.  Available from IPD ( for around $100.
[Response 2:] J.C. Whitney carries them for some Volvos  Also the following company carries a wide assortment, but a bit more than RPR at about $99  IPD also carries them, $99 for your car
[Response 3:] The consensus on dash caps was that they last not. The mechanical forces exerted on a cap by the fissures under it are irresistible with the passage of many moons. IPD or others, dash caps are ultimately doomed to buckle and/or crack verily even unto themselves. What works instead is to buy one of those arguably tacky tight-loop carpet dash covers as soon as you buy the car. Keep thy dash cover on and thy dash will crack not. It it's already cracked, cover it and the cracks will recoil from thy sight.

Dashboard Crack Repair.  [Query:] I just noticed a hairline crack in my dashboard. It starts where the metal leaves the windshield and is heading toward the air vents. Its tiny, only an inch long, but having owned Volvo's before I want to catch it before it starts looking like the Grand Canyon.  [Response: Zee] While I had the broken windshield out of my project, I used GE Silicone II as a filler for the 1/8 - 1/4" wide cracks it has.  I believe this will remain flexible and yet be tenacious enough to stick to the edges of these cracks as they expand & contract.
In former attempts with my '78 244DL, I tried one of those fill 'n color match vinyl repair kits. It did not adhere well to the edges of the crack. So, the crack kept spreading and this material could not restrain it.
If I wanted to preserve what I could on a nice car like yours, I believe what I would try if the GE Silicone II caulk as a filler and adhesive, then use the color agent from one of these vinyl repair kits to help blend the repair site.
One tip: Before applying the silicone caulk, mask the area either side of the crack so you keep the caulk down in the opening, not spread out over good vinyl. The GE product tends to dry clear, but shiny.   If your crack is narrow, you may get away without needing to use the "texturizing" procedure of the vinyl repair kit (heating the repair while pressing a grained material over the patch.)
[Response 2: John Sargent] The good upholstery shops have upholstery dye that is sprayed from a paint gun.  The dashboard on our VW Dasher was replaced with a wrecking yard unit which was the wrong color.  I took it to a friend of mine who has an upholstery shop and had it sprayed black.  The 2 small, fine cracks did not propagate further in the next ten years.  These dashboards are notorious for terrible cracking.

Visor Repair or Replacement.   Is the visor repairable?  [Editor]  Not really.  It is a one-piece unit that generally fails at the horizontal hinge.  This hinge consists of a horizontal plastic rod extending into a hidden spring steel holder.  It fails by cracking inside the holder and is not repairable. High OEM cost will force you to use a recycled unit from a breaker yard.  To remove the visor, determine whether you have an electrical unit with an illuminated vanity mirror.  If not, just unscrew the visor at the hinge and install the new one. If it is illuminated, first remove the A-pillar trim panel.  Pull the vanity lamp fuse (if equipped), unscrew the visor and pull it down enough to expose the wire to the vanity lamp.  Cut this about two inches below the hinge.  Remove the old visor.  Insert the wire for the new visor into the hinge hole and splice it into the old wires using butt-end crimp connectors and heat-shrink tubing insulation.  Install the visor, then the trim panel.

Replacement Carpet Source. I found the web address of a company that sells molded replacement carpet for Volvos.  $225 + $24.50 for shipping for a kit for my 740 seem reasonable for all new carpet.

[Tip from Greg McNair] Get your carpet from ACC Carpets in Anniston or call them at 1-800-352-8216. I JUST installed my carpet from them, $175 delivered to my door. Very nice carpet,  molded fairly well. Plan on spending at least 5 hrs doing this yourself, not including "pull out time". I ordered the Sandalwood color for mine, took 2 days to make it, and 3 more to get it to my house.  Despite a couple of mistakes I made around the shifter area, it looks factory new, and surprised the heck out of my local Volvo dealer. This is one piece, not 2 like the factory setup. If you aren't sure of the color, let them send you color samples free....any color you want. I am very pleased and will recommend them to anyone.

Interior Lamps. IPD cigarette lighter flexible light replacement: Vendor for the "Little Lite" is Markertek, an AV Supply firm.

Interior Trim Panel Removal Notes.  {Editor}  To remove various panels, follow these instructions:
A-Pillar Trim Covers.  Pry off the grab bar screw hole covers (driver's side) by pushing down on the cover while prying up with a screwdriver slightly inserted under the bottom of the plastic cover. The cover snaps onto an underlying plastic holder. On the passenger side, remove the trim strip in the grab handle and unscrew the handle.  In both cases, remove the screws holding the top molding piece in place, then move this aside and remove the hidden screw holding the A-pillar molding at the top.  Things interlock, so don't force it too much.  Slide your fingers down behind the A-pillar molding to pop off first one and then two metal clips.  Then pull the unit up and back to slide it off the remaining trim fastener at the bottom of the A-pillar.  Push back the rubber defrost duct and pull straight back to remove the bottom of the molding from the flat trim spring holder at the very bottom of the panel.  To reinstall, make sure all wiring is stuck to the pillar with putty, then reinstall as the reverse of the above.  You will probably have to remove the bottom panel fastener to place it correctly and reinstall it.  Warning: it is wider than Ford or GM fasteners, so if you break it pay close attention to the diameter of the replacement.

Door Panel Removal. The door panels are very easy to remove after you've done it once.
1.  Later Cars.  [Tip: Peter Gotseff]  These instructions are primarily for 85 and newer 700 models w/ one piece door panel i.e. w/o a door strap, mine is an '89. Remember don't force too much or you'll break trim clips

2.  Notes on Earlier Cars.  (<=1988 model) Pull the speaker cover straight out.  There may be a screw under the speaker cover; remove this if you see it.  Remove the plastic screws beneath the door handle.  There's another hidden clip behind the red "door open" warning light lens on the aft edge of the panel; in later model cars the clip is integral with the red lens.  This is a good time to R&R the window switches and lube the power window mechanism: see the "glass" and "switch" sections of this guide for that.

745/945 Wagon Trim Panel Removal and Access.  [Tips from Bill Peyton] See also Tailgate Panel Removal.

Cupholders. [How do I add cupholders to my 7xx/9xx car?] [Solution 1:] I think I got the same cupholder, also from Caldor. A black plastic ring with a multitude of little "fingers" inside that grip the can or bottle or cup. I peeled the double sided tape off, opened the glove compartment, and stuck the cupholder to the inside of my glove compartment door, on the left side closest to the driver. The glove compartment door still closes if you're careful where you place the cupholder. This worked fine on my 1992 940GL.

[Solution 2:] I found an adjustable cup holder that is designed to mount on a flat horizontal surface. I then used plastic zip-ties to secure it to the e-brake handle in the center consol (each if these cars were auto trans equipped and using the e-brake was a rarity anyway). If you do it right, when the e-brake is down (off) the cup holder edges will be resting on the consol and be level and stable. Of course, you would have to remove the cup when pulling the e-brake (minor inconvenience for me). A bit of compromise here if you use your e-brake much, but this has been well worth it for me.

[Solution 3:]  Use one of the generic cupholders with the strap through the top, designed to be held by the window glass.  Discard the strap, cut the top off and round the edges with a file, and secure to the driver's door panel with 3M trim adhesive tape.

[Solution 4:]  Buy a Husco Trac-Top armrest/cupholder combination for around $70.  See

Armorall on Trim. I decided to wean myself from Armorall after reading the BMW digest FAQ on leather and Vinyl care which severely criticizes its use. I have just started using Summit Industries' Vinylex. They're the same cats who make Lexol leather cleaner and conditioner. What I noticed was how it smells exactly like BRAND NEW VINYL.

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