Thread Number: 44943  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
Water leak in car
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Post# 466494   9/28/2023 at 22:28 by fan-of-fans (USA)        

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During hurricane Idalia we got a lot of rain. That morning after as I left for work I found water in my cup holders and around the gear shift. The headliner was damp around the sunroof.

Dried it all out and cleaned the sunroof drains by running weed racket like down them. Seemed to drain better and I hadnít noticed anymore problems, but thereís been a musty smell since that I canít find the source of.

Last night we got 5 inches of rain. This morning there was a little bit of water around the gear shift, and water dripping from my front map lights. Uh oh.

Iím getting so tired of this. I wish I could find the leak. At this point Iím not sure if itís the sunroof or the windshield. I had the windshield replaced earlier this year by Safelite as it got a crack on the way to Sarasota.

I have no idea where to start or how to find the leak and the source of the smell. I thought maybe the odor was residual from the first leak, but now I wonder if water has been leaking unnoticed the whole time.

Oddly, I first remember noticing the musty smell right after Safelite replaced the windshield, but it had not been raining at the time. Then it went away, and came back after the first leak I noticed.

Any ideas or experiences? Iím almost leaning to have the dealer try to find whatís wrong, and pull the headliner. But I know they will probably charge an arm and a leg to just look at it, and probably wonít be able to duplicate the issue, so Iíll be back to square one.

I remember when I had my previous car, I had a fender bender and after it was repaired, whenever it rained a lot, the passenger side floor would get damp. The shop said they couldnít get it to happen by spraying with a water hose, so I couldnít get any traction on a fix. It never smelled though.


Post# 466496 , Reply# 1   9/28/2023 at 23:24 by JustJunque (Western MA)        

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Hey Cole,

I can't begin to guess where the water is coming from. But, it's weird that I just read your post, and I just discovered water in our car yesterday. I took the driver's floor mat out to clean it, and the floor was very wet underneath it. I still haven't checked under the other mats. To the best of my knowledge, our windshield is original to the car. Of course, our car is a 2001. So, who knows what might be dried out, or rusted, or anything.
I did have an experience with a van I used to drive at work. The windshield had to be replaced. They had a reputable place do the job. But, whenever it rained after that, water would drip in from the top of the windshield, and right onto my lap. They brought it back, and they couldn't find the problem. They did the hose thing for hours or something.
Of course, next time I drove it in the rain, I needed a poncho.


Post# 466499 , Reply# 2   9/29/2023 at 07:29 by fan-of-fans (USA)        

fan-of-fans's profile picture
Barry, had you been using the air conditioning in the car? If so you could have a plugged condensate drain. Thatís a very common issue for the carpet to get wet with that when it canít drain out. Trying looking under the car when you park with the air running and see if thereís water draining out.

Post# 466500 , Reply# 3   9/29/2023 at 09:25 by parunner58 (Davenport, FL)        

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Cole, check your documentation from Safelite. You may have some kind of warranty that they may be able to check the seals on the new windshield and fix it. It is worth a try.


Post# 466501 , Reply# 4   9/29/2023 at 09:26 by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

Windshield - been there several times with 3 different old vehicles, both in situations it was replaced and not.

Pull the trim off from around the windshield using the correct tools (cheap online).
Use a stiff plastic brush to remove the dirt and crud under it. Look for obvious issues. Use a pitcher of water to dribble it in the channel and see if it leaks inside. If it does, clean out the channel with soap and water and brushes and let dry in the sun for a while.
Reseal with proper 3M windshield sealant and let dry (keep it out of the trim clips).
Retest with water after it dries before reinstalling trim.

Other leak points:

Sunroof drains - make sure hoses are attached and clear. On my car there were little flaps at the end of the hoses that held the dirt. Make sure your trimmer line comes out the ends all the way, run water through with the line holding any flaps open.

Cowl air intake. This one nearly drove me to insanity after having filled the entire floorboard with water UNDER the carpet!
I have a long read on this one if anyone is interested...
On my 1997 Cadillac STS the cowl had a 1/4" raised metal 'curb' around the plastic HVAC intake duct that protruded from it. The foam gasket around it had deteriorated. Over 20 years 1/4" of crud built up so water would get to the rotten gasket and leak inside between the thick carpet padding and the metal pan. The carpet itself had a plastic back so there was never standing water that I could see. I ended up gutting the whole interior to dry it out (took weeks).

Firewall connector/hose seals. The gaskets rot after 10-20 years so these may need resealing. Run water down the windshield and see how it flows away.

Clear away dirt, leaves, and other accumulated debris and look for hidden drain holes, too!



Post# 466502 , Reply# 5   9/29/2023 at 09:32 by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

Yes, do consult Safellite first if you think you may still have warranty on the job before doing anything I had mentioned above. Good point!

Post# 466508 , Reply# 6   9/29/2023 at 21:53 by JustJunque (Western MA)        

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I'm sure I had been using the a/c. Between the actual a/c, and the defroster/defogger, I'm almost always running the compressor.
It's rained pretty good all day today, and it's supposed to go right through the night and into tomorrow.
But, after that, we have a little warm-up coming. I'll definitely check for water under the car with the a/c running.
Thanks!


Post# 466522 , Reply# 7   9/30/2023 at 19:12 by huskyvacs (Gnaw Bone, Indiana)        

huskyvacs's profile picture
Water in the cup holders is a sunroof leak.

First thing I would check is if it is closing fully and tightly if it is a power sunroof. Next thing would be inspect all the seals.

How old is the car? If it's over 10 and you park it outside all your seals will be about time to be replaced.



Post# 466923 , Reply# 8   10/19/2023 at 16:22 by richmnz (Auckland, New Zealand)        
Where there is a sunroof

there is a sunroof drain so check they are clear.


Good luck

Richard



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