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Water Leaks -- How to Find and Fix

jetta_juliejetta_julie Posts: 1
edited May 2015 in General
Hello Jetta owners,

I own a '99 VW New Jetta and have been frustrated the last month about a passenger side leak. It's already been determined that the leak has NOTHING to do with the windshield or windows. 4 mechanics have looked at the car to no avail.

Everytime it rains, i get about 3 inches of water on my passenger side. Not only does it stink, but I cannot figure out where it's coming from! Someone suggested it was coming through the speaker. is that possible? It's not coming from the front of the car, but somewhere on the side. No mechanic within 30 miles of San Francisco has been able to help me.

CAn you???? I'm tired of having a pool of rain water in my car!

Thank you! Julie

See Also: How to Find Water Leaks in Your Vehicle


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Hi Julie,

    I'm going to change the title of this topic to "Water Leaks" and e-mail you so you can find your topic again.

    But as to the cause, I can think of two things:

    1. Does your car have a sunroof? If so, you may have a plugged sunroof drain.

    2. Has any warranty work been done to that passenger door, like window regulator, etc. If so, there is a moisture barrier (plastic shield) and sometimes mechanics, in their rush, will tear it or forget to replace it. This moisture shield will sometimes re-direct water leaking past the window "squeegee" (rubber strip at the bottom of the window) into the door drains. If there is no moisture barrier, the water leaking past the squeegee will drip into the car instead.


    1. Push sunroof all the way back. Using gentle air pressure, blow into front sunroof drain (there are usually two, front and back). Then pour a small amount of water into sunroof channel. Water should be seen draining somewhere in back of front tire. If no water is draining, and you can't unplug the drain by air pressure, you may have to dig into the headliner or window trim to get at the channel. There is usually a small section of rubber hose that can be cleaned.

    2. Obviously replace the moisture barrier and the window squeegee.

  • mobymoby Posts: 1
    I also have a leak on the pasenger side of my car 2001 honda crv.
    The water is leaking in a few areas. the first is where the fan is at your feet (know I no why my fan onley works on high) I do not have a sunroof and am pretty sure it is not leaking from the door. it is leaking up high, I have \had a knew winsheild put in 1-2 years ago And I think it was leaking a little before then, anyways it started to rain last night and when I went out to check this morning their was a 1"-2" puddle. when I drove to work it stopped leaking.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I think your problem is the drains for the fresh air vents, which are just below your windshield (the cowl) on the outside of the car. You or the dealer or repair shop will have to remove the vents and/or cowling and try to unplug these drains. It is quite common for them to collect leaves and other debris which, in time, soften with water and turn into a gooey mess that does a nice job of plugging the drains. Then, the compartment that houses your windshield wipers perhaps or other ducting, fills up with water and finally the water reaches a height where there is no waterproofing for the firewall. So it spills over into the interior of the car.

    You can test this by pouring a cupful of water into the fresh air cowl and see if it drains out behind the front wheel. If you don't see the water going anywhere, you are plugged up for sure.
  • Car is 98 Nissan Quest
    Passanger side leak. All drains seem to be clear, but I suspect the fresh air intake vent drain is partly stopped up. Water poured thru exterior intake vent will drain under car, but the soft rubber parts covering parts behind interior vent and under under dash become wet. I see no way to approach intake vent drain drain from the top.
    Any suggestions?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    You have to pull the fresh air vent cowel off and blow air or run a rod through the vent, that's the only way I know how to unclog them.

    What happens is that the "box" or compartment under the fresh air cowl eventually fills up with water and then leaks through plugs or holes that were never designed to keep water out.
  • The intake vent seems to be welded in and covered with a wire mesh. Is it just forced fittted? Just pry it out? Bad design.

    It is well under the part of the hood that does not lift and there is very little clearence. I did caulk around the front of the joint that appeared to not be well sealed.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well I can't see it from here. If I see a Quest I'll take a look. I think I know where there is one just down the street. Don't pry just yet. You might also ask at the Nissan dealer, or your friendly body shop.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Okay I looked at a '98 Quest and there's a black plastic grille under the windshield wipers. It is held in place by 6 screws. So you take off the wiper blades, then the six screws and then figure out how to test and unplug that drain. Don't get too frisky with a wire, because if you knock off the rubber hose for the drain you might be in deep do-do. I'd try something like first seeing what you can dig out with your hands, and then using compressed air in a can or even a bicycle pump.
  • Somehow, water got in the floor of the back seats along with the trunk! The well for the spare tire has about 2 inches of water in it. I'll try to see if the drains in the sunroof are clogged...but how come there is only water in the back seats and front but nowhere in the front seats?
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    ...and I actually have one.

    (At one time, for birthday, Christmas, etc my wife bought me several things she thought I needed. A several hundred dollar scope that I never used and sold for $50 in a garage sale {who needs one, just put new plugs and wires on, don't 'test' them} High voltage and non-distributer cars don't need such things anyway.).

    The tool is a sonic tester to find leaks. It has a small box, which is an 'emitter'. (You can't hear the emitter at all. Dog and cats sure can.) You can put this inside a car near where you think it leaks. Then there is a large detector box, with meter and buzzer and long tube to use as a noise 'sniffer'. You go ourside the car and move the tube around until it registers on the meter.

    It actually works very well. A friend used it to find a leak in a Suburban rear door. I used it to verify missing sealing in a windshield (I could actually feel cold air coming in there.)

    It's just - how often do you really need to use one of these things.....

    A large body shop might have one of these. Mine came from Sears, years ago when they carried more tools than they do now....

    Oh, yes, this thing can also find vacumn leaks. A vacumn leak will produce an untrasonic sound, which is what the detector is listening for. It works very well for this also. You have to get right down on the connections, but if one is leaking, this thing will tell you about it. A carborated motor will set it off anywhere near the open intake. It will also tell you how bad the throttle rods are leaking. I've never used it around a fuel injected car, I need to play around and do this.....
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Along with sunroof drains be SURE to check the tail light gaskets...those are chronic leakers. It's hard for sun roof drains to drain into the trunk....possible I suppose with hard acceleration but with water in your spare tire well I'm guessin' tail light gaskets. Last possibility might be trunk seal. Look for deformity or a seal that has been pulled out of its runner.
  • Hello Neon owners,

    I own a 2001 Chrysler Neon and have noticed that water is leaking into the back passenger floor space on both sides. I can't figure out how it is getting in. My vehicle does have a sun roof, but it isn't wet at all around that area. Does anyone have any suggestions as to where it could be getting in?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Could be the sunroof drains...that's where they might spill over if they were clogged up.
  • I have a 01 Lincoln Town Car. Whenever it rains out or I drive through a puddle I get water leaking from under the dash board onto the carpeting where the passenger would put their right foot. I've also talked to about 15 other TC owners and they're having the same problem. Does anyone have any information on how to fix this? I've already cleaned out all of the water drains and everything is clear now. But it's still leaking water.
  • I have a 1986 Mercedes 300 that suddenly started leaking water into the front passenger side. We have tried cleaning drains and it still leaks. It seems to come from water off the lower windshield , possibly from around the air intake. Are there any seals in that area? It seems to have started after the car was painted. Is it possible that the baking of paint could have messed up a sealed seam?
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    What condition is the windshield seal in? Is it dried out, shrunken and cracked? Also have a look at the door seal on that side.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Both of you need to test the drains to see if you have cleared them.

    If you can see the water draining out the bottom of the car as you pour it in (a small amount please) through the air intake, then you have to look at the windshield gasket probably.

    If you suspect a bad windshield gasket, one quick and easy fix might be to use a LATEX based black-colored sealer that is used in a caulking gun to seal windows, etc on houses. This must be LATEX based and you just wipe it on with your finger and clean the excess with a wet rag. Be sure to get the sealer up under the gasket if you can do this. Of course, this is done from OUTSIDE the car.

    Last of all, sunroof drains can clog and water will leak from the A-pillar.
  • I have a 99 Chevy Prism, Power Moonroof. I have read your fourm but cannot locate exactly where my leak is comming from. It appears to be entering (internally) from a plastic to plastic seam above the right shoulder of the right rear passanger and runs down a plastic panel to the rear passanger side foot rest area. The problem just recently became very problematic with inches of water after a recent rain storm. It was worse when I parked my car in an uphill situation on my direway, but also appears to leak when it is parked downhill. Should I focus on the exterior right rear windown sealing (I heard the corollas had an issue in 1998...), or the moon roof, or the rear windown seal?


    I have had a problem for years with water entering into the trunk and spare wheel well, and will try siliconing the rear tail lights. Any direcion or help would be greatly appreciated!


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    That sounds like a sunroof drain. You can open the sunroof and actually see the drain hole, and you can test it with a shotglass full of water. YOu should see it dribbling out somewhere near the rear wheel.


    Unplugging a sunroof drain can be trickly. You don't necessary want to be poking something down there, as you might dislodge the rubber hose that is embedded somewhere in the car's interior roof. Compressed air is best.
  • Our Camry has developed a leak that I THINK is coming from the front passenger door somewhere. Items in the map pocket were wet, and the rear floor mat had quite a lot of water soaked into it. After a dry out, it had a day of hard rain today, and I see where water has dripped onto the carpet just inside the front passenger door sill, run down under the seat and ended by the edge of the rear mat next to the tunnel. I see nothing wrong with the weather stripping, and this is a car that has been garaged.


    Any ideas?? Please help maintain a otherwise immaculate car.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Has any work been done to this door recently?


    Also, have you checked to see that the drains under the door itself are not clogged?
  • My '04 Pontiac Sunfire routinely has three inches of standing water in the trunk. The vehicle was purchased in used condition. On a dry day have run water over problem areas for 10 minutes around trunk seal, over rear tail lights and over all welds around trunk, etc. When testing can not seem to find any leakage from repeated tests. I do not understand this but it appears that the wettest portion after a rain is the carpet by the trunk latch. Unfortunately, I do not see any way for water to come in there. Suggestions?
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    The trunk seal is probably loose or does not have adhesive under it somewhere. The water will come under the seal, run alongside the seal to the bottom of the trunk, near the latch, then overflow the rim into the trunk.


    Peel the seal up along its entire length. If you find even a small place without adhesive, reglue it there.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Dry everything out, put some newspaper down in there, and hit the trunk with a hose.


    My own personal experience working on cars for many years that it is 80% the tail light lens gaskets and 20% the trunk seal...sometimes the trunk seal can look fine but is too compressed to work properly anymore.


    Point of entry would be the tip off. If it's the tail light lens gaskets you will of course get water right under the lens body on one or both sides.


    Water can run left or right or seep into carpeting, so what you feel as wet may not be the point of entry.
  • This is exactly what is happening with my 95 Jetta! Have you received any advise?
  • I have a 1995 dodge dakota SLT with moisure in the right floor board. It is not antifreeze. No cracks in windows. Any owners with same make with similar problems?
  • Does the car have a sunroof? If so pull back the carpet trim on the trunk sides and check to make sure that the plastic drain hoses are fully seated into the drain holes. If the car does not have a sunroof pull the carpet back on the sides and check the grommets where the wire harness goes through the lower quarter panel make sure that it is fully seated and check to make sure that the trunk vents are installed and that the rubber flaps are in place. The rubber flaps are like a one way valve and lets air flow out and keeps water, and exhaust fumes from getting in.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Also check the fresh air vents under the windshield wipers. If those drains are clogged from leaves or other organic debris, the area under the wipers will fill up with water, overflow, and seep into the passenger compartment.
  • I also have a neon with water leaking into the passenger floor space on both sides. I do not have a sun roof. Any advice?
  • I also have a Neon with water leaking into the back passenger floors, both sides. Anyone with any advice? I'm at a loss! Feel free to email [email protected]
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