Water Leaks -- How to Find and Fix



  • bolivarbolivar Member Posts: 2,316
    I don't know if I support you on this. The plastic film is truly a 'moisture barrier' and in no way is it a 'water seal'. It is mainly to keep moisture ladden air away from the door panel and it's plastic and fabric.

    It has multiple holes and slits in it for wires, clips, speakers, etc. It does not 'stop' water, just moisture ladden air. I think your problem is somewhere else.

    Now, working on the window, they may have torn, crushed, misaligned a door or window seal and water is coming in around this...

    $120 for a 'moisture barrier'? There is some labor taking the door panel off, but that part should not run very much. Make your own out of a big peice of plastic sheeting and some glue drizzled across it. (Most times a door is worked on, the mechanics totally throw away the moisture barrier and never put it back on.)
  • skylar111skylar111 Member Posts: 2
    Oh, it gets better. That night that I got my car home, after paying the money(figureing I will sue to get my money back later, but needing my car-little do they know I am an attorney-ha ha) Anyway, my window control on the driver's door which controls the back driver side window, won't work. Pretty clearly, I figure they unplugged something or broke something in the door while they looked for the leak. I take it back in. now they want to charge me $650!!!!! to fix that problem. They say, oh it wasn't us... Never do they mention the warranty that covers the crappy window regulators in 2000 Jettas. But they do try to blame it on "maybe someone else worked on your car and broke it" THis is getting to be comical... I guess if you can't laugh you cry...I must have SUCKER written all over my face. Thanks for your repsonse though, made me feel better-atleat made me feel like I am not crazy! :sick:
  • mittensmittens Member Posts: 1
    I've been having a problem after even a light rain with water collecting in the wheel well under the rug in the back of the car. the rug is dry, the floor is dry. But there can be up to two inches of standing water in that cavity under the rug, after even a light rain!
    I've tried pouring water directly down the runoff vents on the sides, I've tried pouring water over the back of the hatch and letting it trickle where it will, and nothing happens.
    It makes sense that the water would be somehow leaking in from under the rug and into the well, but HOW?
    I've often thought this would make a great place to hide valuables on a trip, but maybe not...*g*
  • caddybycaddyby Member Posts: 1
    Hi Mcoish-

    My daughter's 1998 Neon has water on the rear floorboards. Sounds just like the problem you had....but she doesn't have a sunroof.

    I can't tell where the water came from Maybe underneath the car.

    Did you ever find the source of your leak?

    Any advise would be sincerely appreciated.


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Generally you are quite right, it is not meant to be "waterproof"--but if you have a worn squeegee (seal at top of door) water will dribble in and not be deflected to the outside of the door where the drains are, but may dribble into the interior panel.

    I have solved leaks by replacing the moisture barrier--especially on cars with some aging weatherstripping in the windows or door.

    It's just TOO co-incidental in his case, don't you think?
  • old_escortgtold_escortgt Member Posts: 1
    Hi. I think my Escort is leaking somewhere along the roofline.

    After a rain, water drips onto the rearview mirror. The cloth covering the ceiling of the car is
    damp just above the rearview mirror. Where could the leak be coming from, and how can I fix it?

  • chrisptownchrisptown Member Posts: 11
  • mick8180mick8180 Member Posts: 1
    Started to show signs of water in front passenger floor. Not from heater core. Also notice signs of moisture in rear of vehicle (water marks on seat belts where they anchor to the floor) Does anyone know how best to go about determining the source of the leak ? If looking for a body shop, would they have to have special equipment to test for leaks ? Any suggestions would help.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    If you have a sunroof, open it halfway and then pour just a little cupful of water into the channel...you should see a drainhole. Make sure the water drains out the bottom of the car.

    You can test the same thing in the fresh air vents just below the windshield wipers...if you pour a little water in there (simulating rain water intrusion) you should see it dribble out the bottom of the vehicle. If one or neither of these drains doesn't drain out the bottom, it is plugged and going into the passenger compartment.

    Drains are usually cleared with compressed air. you must be careful about jamming things down there.
  • crismcrism Member Posts: 1
    Forgive me, but i have never heard of sunroof drains and unfortunately i have a saturn ion (2004) that has water leaks - (bad water leaks) after reading the messages on this web-site it seems that this is a pretty common problem with sunroof drains... my issue is that the car is only 1 year old...the water damage from the leak was so bad that the car already has the awful mildew smell to it - i contacted the dealership and they were of no help at all....they flushed out the drains and charged me $120.00 ( i am having a hard time justifying why the consumer has to pay for this) not to mention having to pay to have the water stains removed and the smell (hopefully) removed... how often does this happen and when ? is this something that i should have known about ?
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    It's possible that one of the drain tubes is disconnected or cracked. Open the sunroof then slowly pour water into the gutter around it. You should see the water draining out at the front and rear wheel openings. If not, time to have the headliner removed and verify the integrity of the drain tubes.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    If you say park under a tree very often, the debris from the branches collects in the fresh air vents, and slowly over time decomposes and turns into "goop" that can plug up a drain very nicely. As for sunroof drains, the same thing applies. Any debris can plug it up. Of course, you can sometimes get leaks from the corner of the windshield but that is sort of rare. The drains in your doors can also plug up, causes drips into the car. Also your tail light len gaskets can let water in and then you may get mysterious water leaks from the rear seat floor area.
  • linda9linda9 Member Posts: 1
    My 2001 Saturn is having a similar problem. The front floor is getting very wet. This started suddenly. No rain was in sight. Any ideas about where to start looking?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    WEll if there's been no rain and no car wash, then the wetness is from your car's heater core. Is the moisture kind of sticky and smells sweet?

    If you've been in a car wash, then my previous comments apply, just like rain water would.
  • swimming1swimming1 Member Posts: 1
    Thought I had a hole in my floor, but I had someone look underneath and they couldn't find anything. Opened the trunk and the well with my spare tire is full of slimy water!! Think the rain water may be running down the trunk trough and then into trunk by the rear lights. My whole car smells! Tropical Storm Arlene isn't helping.

    Anyone have a fix?
  • toybeartoybear Member Posts: 1
    Replying to #61 of 68.... Did you locate the problem. I have 1998 Sienna that is having the same woes. Have tried all sorts of stuff to rid the car of the odor and find the source. Could you send me your solution to problem if you found it? I've done the sunroof drain thing and tried all sorts of alternatives. I've taken good care of this vehicle and have never let the rain into the car via the roof being left open. I'm desperate.
  • ritt21ritt21 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 1997 Catera and haven't had any problems with it, but than again, I have only had it for a few months! I noticed the other day that the passengers side front and back areas got extremely wet after a rain storm. Well needless to say, I took the car to the car wash and nothing leaked. I do not have a sun roof or anything so I know the water is not coming in through there and yes the windows and doors were closed. :-)

    Over the past few days, we have gotten some rain and the floor was dry. I figured i had a brain fart and it was a 1 time incident. Well, as it turns out, it wasn't and just the other day we got some rain and the front passengers side floor was wet again.

    Any ideas on where the water could be coming from?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Is it wet under the dashboard on the passenger side as well?
  • ritt21ritt21 Member Posts: 2
    Yes it is, but not as much as by the door and center of the floor.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I'm wondering if you could pour a little teacup of water into the right side fresh air vent (under the windshield wipers) to make sure that the water drains out below the car. If you pour water in and nothing comes out, then you've got a clogged drain on that side. Could be a pain cleaning that out, I don't know on that particular car.

    If it drains out okay, you might try applying water at the "squeegee" seal, that's the one outside at the bottom of the window. You can also check the door drains that are on the bottom of the door.
  • blytheblythe Member Posts: 1
    My Saturn is doing the same thing. Did it turn out to be a hose problem, or something else?

  • farcusfarcus Member Posts: 2
    This is my first post. After discovering it wasn't the sunroof drains in my 98 Montero Sport XLS, I did discover the leak. As the water runs down into the drains under the windshield a small amount of water is coming in under the dash on the passenger side, (at the corner of the firewall and the inside wall). The majority of the water goes out via the drains. What do I use to seal the leak from the inside?

    With the amount of rain we're getting here in Florida this summer, this is a problem I can't ignore anymore and I need to put my interior back together.
    Thanks, Farcus
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You can't seal from the inside, You have to pop off the panel under the wipers and dig around in there and clear the drains. They must be partially clogged up from tree debris.
  • farcusfarcus Member Posts: 2
    I was afraid that was going to be the answer. What is the best material to use? Just some bathroom caulk, or is there a something available at the local auto parts or home repair store? Farcus
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    It's probably not a sealing problem. If the drains are plugged, that compartment just fills up like a goldfish bowl---you couldn't possibly seal everything up so that you would be able to carry 5 gallons of water in there. If the drains are good you should never have a leak in there. What is happening is that the water collects and rises to a level where it can penetrate through all kinds of wiring or seams or hoses which were never built to keep water out---only air.

    If you want to seal up some holes or loose hoses you see in there, fine---use a LATEX based caulk---you can easily clean it up with water.
  • girardgirard Member Posts: 1
    :cry: I have put a new thermostat in this car, and it fixed my overheating problem. It has a new radiator. When i drive the car though, I notice water coming from under approximately just in front of the firewall, or under the steering pump approximately, I wonder if it is condensation, but it seems like a bit too much fluid to be condensation. I only have water in the system right now, so i cant judge if it is condensation by absence of anti-freeze in leaking fluid.when i looked down the other night with a flashlight from above I saw water on a crossmember maybe below the water pump. but i see no leaks on or around it. does anyone have clues to the source of this leak? are these cars noted for leaking in this area? If i could just find the leak I would proceed, any suggestions? thanks girard :cry:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You are really not in the right forum---this is for exterior water leaks---but since you are here, I'll give you my advice. Get your cooling system pressure tested and I'll bet you'll see the leak....you might need to keep it under pressure and then put it on a lift.
  • whitecamry01whitecamry01 Member Posts: 1
    I own a 2001 Camry and the Driver's side back seat floor carpet is saturated!!!! wet. Any suggestions on the possible culprit? It rained today, and I noticed the driver's side and back doors were not wet on the inside and the plastic tube lining did not have water trails. Also, my AC has been running with "steam" coming from the vents.

    Thank you

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    "steam" is probably normal condensation (you've got a fog bank in your car!).

    Water in the rear floor area, if not coming from the door, is usually one of two things:

    1. Sunroof drains on that side of the car...these drains usually run down the "C" pillar, where the door striker is bolted for your rear door on a 4-door car.

    2. Tail light lens gaskets --often overlooked, these are rubber gaskets that seal around your tail lights....any water in your trunk? If not, then I'd suspect the left side (driver's side) sunroof drain....there's one that does to just behind the front wheel, and one that goes to just ahead of the rear wheel. Mild air pressure is often the way to clear them.
  • bronco2bronco2 Member Posts: 1
  • resplrespl Member Posts: 1
    Every Time It Rains Heavily Water Gets In The Passenger Side Foot Well.
    The Drains Are Clear And It Looks Like The Water Comes Through The In Cabin Air Filter. The Only Thing I can Think Is An Improper Windshield Replacement.
    How Do I Seal This Leak? Do I Caulk Under The Windshield?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You can use a LATEX caulk...smear it on with your finger, and if you can peel back the rubber a bit sure force some in there. Then with a damp cloth you can easily clean up the mess. Remember LATEX caulk, in black, none of that gooey silicon stuff.
  • ranger3ranger3 Member Posts: 1
    I do park under trees and it's probably plugged drains in both the sunroof and air vent wells under the windshield. I've looked, but I can't find the drain holes. In the sunroof it's black plastic and I don't see any drains. How big are they? Where are they? I asked the dealer when I bought the car about sunroofs leaking and was told to pour bleach water into the drains once a year to remove mildew. :confuse:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    If you open the roof all the way you should see the drains in the channels. They drain to the bottom of the car, usually though the A pillar next to the windshield and the C pillar behind the back seat. Air pressure is a good way to clean them, but poking something down them is RISKY as you might dislodge a rubber tube down there and then you really got a problem.
  • tom1columbiatom1columbia Member Posts: 1
    Bought van one week ago. Prior owner swears she parked it outside in FL for 4 years with no problem.

    It rained 3 inches over last 2 days.

    I have standing water in the carpet on the passenger and some also on the driver's side.

    THought it might be due to faulty windshield as found trace amounts of water in molding above front passenger side door and water trail leading down molding to floorboard on the right.

    however, cannot replicate the leak using a hose.

    Now, I am thinking it might be the drains from the sunroof?

    What do you think?

  • danny11danny11 Member Posts: 1
    Just bought one... and i love it but recently it rained and the driver side is leaking. part of my seat got wet and the floor. just a bit of water but my dad is ragging on my [non-permissible content removed] telling me i shouldn;t have bought a convertable. help me to help shut him up..someone help me find the problem...thanks soooo much!! :cry:
  • cwhite1cwhite1 Member Posts: 1
    I have 99 Lexus rx300. I also have water leak on drivers side in the floor board.

    I have checked the sun roof drain holes. The one on the drivers side drains slowly, the one on the passenger side drains quickly. My question is how do I check to see if the tubing in the drain hole is damaged on the drivers side? How do i get get to it?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    These can be tough to access. Usually you have to remove the trim on the A pillar and sometimes even the headliner. But if the drain hole connecting tube has a leak, you should see that leak when you start pouring water in. Otherwise, if the drain is plugged, the water overflows and leaks FROM the sunroof channel itself.

    You can also check the fresh air vents under the windshield wipers, as we may have mentioned. Debris from trees, etc. gets in there and plugs those drain holes, and the location of your leak suggests this possibility.
  • jackson32jackson32 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 99 grand am and i am getting water in the well underneath the passenger seat. Months ago, after a heavy rain i had a few inches of water under there. I put a towel in there to soak up the water, thinking it came from the passenger door seal. It seemed dry most of the time. Sometimes a bit damp. But today I noticed that the towel was wet but only on the bottom, and it did not rain all week. It must be coming from underneath. When I got into my car this morning their was a real musty smell as well. This is definetly a problem that I can no longer ignore. Is there anything I can do?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You'd better pull up the carpeting and dry it out under there. I doubt your leak is coming from the floorboards. That's pretty impossible. I suspect it is dripping down the inside of the firewall from the fresh air vent drains, which may be clogged.
  • petenpegpetenpeg Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 Mazda 6, and the same problem, with water soaking the carpet on the passenger side front and back. Is the clogged vent the likely culprit? I looked unde the hood and didn't see anything I thought I could fix, looks like a dealer trip!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You have to pry up the cowl under the wipers on most cars or sometimes dig under a plastic shield, to access the vents. What happens is that the compartments under the wipers fill up because they can't drain, and once the water reaches a certain level, it seeps into holes for wiring and/or tubing and drips down into your car.
  • firesdstnyfiresdstny Member Posts: 1
    I checked the fresh air vents as has been suggested many times in this thread by pouring a cup of water into the vents, and they all drained fine and quickly.

    When it rains AND I have the vent open I have gotten significant amounts of water on the floor of the passenger side of the car. It does not seem to be dripping in from anywhere that I can tell, but it is affecting both the front and back seats on the passenger side.

    Could it be a leaky or disconnected hose? What else should we check?
  • jayjay2jayjay2 Member Posts: 1
    Came home last week from 3 weeks away, found water six inches deep on both front floor compatments of car which was parked in driveway on a 20 per cent downward grade. I ran car through a carwash but could detect absolutely no sign of leakage anywhere into the car. Anyone have aby ideas on what's going on?
  • vettevervettever Member Posts: 20
    My 99 Corvette leaks when it rains, parked and underway. Both floor pans get soaked, the dash goes crazy and the wipers get a mind of their own. I really gotta get this stopped before I damage some behind the dash electronics. Thanks for any input!
  • 731robert731robert Member Posts: 8
    i have a 2001 grand am the back floorboards are getting water in them can anyone tell me why
  • so_sadso_sad Member Posts: 1
    Hello, I need help! My Honda has 2 inches of water in the trunk. Just sitting there. It rained all day yesterday and the trunk is soaked. :cry: What should I do?
  • fgmyedfgmyed Member Posts: 6
    I have read through this Discussion; Excellent suggestions. No one has asked about an 1999 Infiniti I30 and both front windows leak when it rains. Do you think the problem is with the drain plugs in the sun roof? How do I fix. Thank you.
  • mick79mick79 Member Posts: 1
    The air intake adj. to bonet of car takes in air ,rain ect. into a bulkhead under dash of car.This can get clogged with leaves,dirt ect.Over time an acid compost forms inside bulkheads and causes corrosion and therefore leaks.First clean out bulkhead with vacume cleaner and/or water pressure.There should be a rubber or plastic pipe on each end of the bulkhead allowing water to drain. These get blocked with the compost and need to be cleaned.Not an easy job to work under dash of car! Removal of front seats maybe necessary for easier access.
    You can glue some acrylic flyscreen under air intake panel to prevent leaves ect. from first entering the bulkhead-only allowing water and dust that is not going to block things up in future. If the corners of bulkhead are corroded they need to be fixed- if small holes with silicone- or if big holes with lead flashing glued and riveted to cleaned and sealed metal surfaces.Not an easy job good luck
    Also remember air pressure!. No leaks may be evident when at a standstill, but when driving, air is forced inside car through any small opening in bulkhead .Fixed leaks must be water and airtight1 use lots of silicone sealant over holes.
  • briepippbriepipp Member Posts: 1
    Oh my I feel soooo bad for you. I just had that problem with my 03 civic LX. I found it in April of 05. I found 2 inched of water in the trunk and MOLD!! I feel so bad for you my warranty had just expired about 500 miles after i saw the mess in the trunk. I brought it up to the dealership & they tried to fix it 7 times with no luck. So in August of this year i traded that damn car in for a new 05 Civic. Guess what leaks. Today will be the second time I bring the car in for service, of a leaky trunk. I feel your pain. I told the dealership I was counting on getting the lemon law involved considering they couldnt fix the 03 what makes me think they can fix the new one.
    'Signed - So Sorry :lemon: :lemon: :lemon:
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