Whether it’s dripping or gushing water, a sunroof leak can create a mess and damage your car’s interior. While you may assume that the rubber seal on your sunroof is damaged and needs repair, oftentimes the culprit isn’t the seal at all. Instead, check the tiny holes at the edges of the sunroof seal for clogs.
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Cleaning Drain Tubes with Air
Clean the sunroof trough, located just inside the rubber seal. It is designed to catch water that gets through the sunroof. Wipe it with a cloth to remove any visible debris on the seals and edges of the sunroof.
Locate the sunroof drain tubes. These are very small holes, usually at the corners of the sunroof just under the seal.
Blast compressed air through the drain tubes located at the base of the sunroof seal. These tubes are designed to carry water that gets through the roof down and out of the car. Tubes can get blocked with dirt and debris over time and need cleaning.
Cleaning Drains with Metal Wire
Insert a skinny flexible metal wire in a drain tube. A bicycle brake line works very well to clean sunroof drain tubes — it is the perfect diameter and has just the right flex to make its way down through the tubes. Clean each drain hole you find near the sunroof base.
Twist the wire clockwise and then counterclockwise while pushing it deeper into the drain tube. The wire should move with little resistance through the tube and push any small dirt or debris particles out as it continues.
Take care not to damage the drain tubes with the metal rod. If you feel a lot of resistance even after twisting the metal wire, do not push it any further. If this happens, you will need to have a professional clean the drain tubes.
Close the sunroof and pour water over the glass. Check for leaks inside the car. If there are still leaks, proceed to the next step.
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Fixing the Seal
Look for cracks or jagged edges along the sunroof seal. Some seals will slowly dry out and crack over time due to exposure to extreme hot and cold temperatures.
Scan the area around the seal for any pooling water or mold. Some seals will sag or lose their shape, causing water to build up in the seal’s trough. When the water pools, it can eventually create holes in the seal.
Apply black liquid electrical tape to the seal. Brush a thick layer of the liquid electrical tape on, making sure it covers cover any visible wear. The tape dries to form a protective, waterproof barrier. Press the tape down around the seal. Let it dry following the liquid tape manufacturer’s directions.
Close the sunroof and pour water over the top again. Check inside the car to see if you still have leaks.
Take the vehicle to a professional service provider if you continue to have problems with the sunroof. Leaks that are not associated with the drainage tubes or seals are usually factory flaws that can only be fixed by installing a new sunroof.