Water Leaks -- How to Find and Fix



  • graceggraceg Member Posts: 6
    Hi, mine is a civic 03, and something weird just happened these rainy days. I was driving on the road, some water though not much dropped on my right foot which was on the brake. I did not know how the water dropped from nowhere... Maybe the bottom of the dashboard? Maybe the water came from the rain flowed through the holes under windshield? I also made a little experiment and found that it seemed a little water only drops after rain and when the car turns left, but not when it turns right... Could anybody help me see what could be the problem here? :confuse: Thanks so much!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Sounds like the old plugged drain in the fresh air vents below the windshield wipers. If the drain is plugged (from dead leaves, airborne debris, etc), then that little basin eventually fills up like a portable fishtank and when you brake or turn a certain way it sloshes around and gets into the car's interior.

    So you have to pop the vent screens off (or the whole cowl) and dig in there. If you poured a cup of water in those vents, you should see it immediately draining out the bottom of the car in a steady stream.
  • aniaania Member Posts: 2
    Mr. Shiftright how about that leak in Buick Regal? Any suggestions? Please, can you give me some tips, anything....
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I'd say the same thing as the other poster---clogged drains in the fresh air vent area under the wipers. Tip off? That it leaks only when the car is tilted backwards. The "fishtank" formed by the clogged drains only leaks when the water piles up against the firewall. All the lines, hoses, electrical wires that run through the firewall are sealed with grommets, but they aren't made to be water-proof, only air-proof. You need to pop the cowl and check those drains.
  • leslie15leslie15 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 97 Jeep Grand Cherokee. There is a tube that runs along side the console (under the carpet) and exits in the back seat. I assume its to blow heat back there. Only now, it is leaking water. I took it to the jeep dealer to have it fixed and they said there is probably a drain plugged somewhere but its too time consuming to look for it. $2000 later, it still leaks. HELP.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Is this water or coolant, can you tell?
  • leslie15leslie15 Member Posts: 2
    I think its water. I keep a towel down there so it can soak it up. No odor.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Okay, fresh water then....so it must be a plugged drain from the fresh air vents that is dripping into the heat tube, or condensed water from the AC evaporator that is doing the same thing. Yep, I guess the easiest thing to do would be to check the fresh air vent cavity (under the wipers) to see if there's a fish tank in there; otherwise, you've have to have someone dig under the console.

    Does this happen when it rains or when there's a car wash event?
  • m78m78 Member Posts: 1
    I have a water leak also under the passenger side floor board. thought it was the heater core but my antifreeze level is full. thought maybe my windshield seal was bad. still wondering why it leaks...
  • yetta1yetta1 Member Posts: 4
    I have a Dodge Neon 2001. Since last month when it rained non-stop for several days, i started to have pools of water at the back seat whenever it rains. It's weird because sometimes it's only on the left side but sometimes it's only on the right. When it rains really hard usually I have problem from both sides. I don't have any problem with the front seats. Previously my sunroof couldn't be closed fully and I blamed the sunroof. But after having it fixed in an autoshop, the situation doesn't improve. I thought water may drip in slowly from somewhere, so I tried to spot out where the water is from while it's raining heavily, but I can't find anywhere of the car body that's wet!!! Once I got into my car to look for the source of the problem after it rained heavily for 10 minutes, but the car was still all dry. So it seems that it has to rain for long enough before water starts to accumulate. Do you have any idea what the problem is? Any help will be really really appreciated, especially for a person like me who basically knows nothing about cars.....
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Any water in the trunk?

    If none whatsoever, I'd suspect the sunroof drains or the door drains. Look under the rear doors and see if there are drain holes and see if they are clean. Sometimes if you put down newspaper you can spot the leak's source.
  • yetta1yetta1 Member Posts: 4
    the trunk is very wet too, but not not as serious as water accumulated. When you touch the trunk (interior), you can find water droplets on your fingers. I thought that's just something about the material of the car that traps moisture (now it seems not). Does it indicate something?

    again, thanks a lot of your prompt response!!!!!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Yes trunk water can come from bad tail light gaskets, and if enough gets in there, when you slam on the brakes, where do you think the water is going to go?
  • yetta1yetta1 Member Posts: 4
    For your first reply, do you mean that I should wait for the rain to see if the bottom part of the rear doors leak? I'm not sure whether I get it right. And I looked at the doors, they don't look dirty except some dust.... should I just put newspaper beside the door and see what happen?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Yeah that would be a good idea. But sometimes trunk water can come in under the rear seats, too.

    Water leaks can be very hard to track down. It takes patience.

    I've even resorted to driving through a car wash with a friend in the back seat checking for water intrusion.
  • ruffwillowruffwillow Member Posts: 3
    Hi! I have a problem with my new car. It is a 99 Malibu. I first notice someting after a really big rainstorm a week ago, my car got a huge puddle in the passenger side footwell. It was parked. I dried that out and then checked the rest of the car. I have water in all the low parts of my car. i.e all the footwells front and back, and the low parts under my seats. My brother checked the fresh air intake vents, but nothing was blocking the way as far as we could tell. I do not have a sunroof. I have not found any trails of damp from the doors to the carpet. I took it to an oil change place and had them check my undercarriage, and they said I have all the plugs appear secure. Why is my carpet getting wet? How can I find the leak?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I'd check the trunk. Is that wet?

    Water could be coming in under the rear seats.
  • ruffwillowruffwillow Member Posts: 3
    No, the trunk is not wet. I've found that I could pull up the rubber gasket around the front windshield a little bit though. but, I did not see any water running down my windshield. Plus, could the water from the front leak to the back? There are bumps in the way.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Okay, no water in the trunk, you're sure.

    No sunroof.

    So it must be rear door, or door window, gaskets then, or plugged drains in the doors.
  • bcparsonsbcparsons Member Posts: 18
    I used to have some vacumn issues until I discovered that I was only pulling 6 inches of vacumn. Everything was much better after I replaced the pump But there is still a leak somewhere because the door locks don't release after a couple of hours sitting.
    The cruise control was working but then on a trip while engaged it suddenly stopped and I have not been able to engage it since. Is it also affected by the vacumn system?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Depends on the car how the door locks are activated. Older ones use vacuum, newer cars rarely do.
  • yetta1yetta1 Member Posts: 4
    Hi again,

    It took me several days to wait for big enough rain to spot out which part of the car gets wet. Now I think the culprit is the rear part of the sunroof. What do you suggest me to do to fix it?

    Thanks very much again for your opinion. It does help a lot!!! =)
  • jkirk7251jkirk7251 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 Buick Lesabre and water is leaking onto the driver front and back floor boards. I have taken it to a few places and no one can seem to find where it is leaking from. Every rain storm we have i have a huge puddle in my driver rear floor board but the carpet in the front floor board is damp. Do you know where it is coming in at?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Okay with a sunroof first thing you want to check are the drains. If you open the sunroof you can see th drains. Most cars have two on a side, fore and aft. So, take a cup of water and pour it in the drain, or some of it, and observe if the water drains
    A) in front of the back wheel, for the rear drain B) in back of the front wheel, for the front drain, or C) on your carpeting or D the water just sits there.

    If C, then you must have a break or loose tube in the drain area. Most drains are not one continuous pipe,they have a flex hose in there somewhere---usually under the headliner by the back window (rear windshield). That would be a pain to track down and fix.

    If D, then the drain is plugged and the water is overflowing the channel into your car.

    Sunroofs also usually have a seal around the lip of the moving lid, so check that out as well, for tears.

    If the drains are plugged, use AIR to blow them out, don't go sticking a wire in there. You can knock the flex hose off inside and then you have to tear into the headliner or C pillar trim pieces, or into the trunk area.
  • bcparsonsbcparsons Member Posts: 18
    The car in question is a 1984 and the locks do work by vacuum. I've had all the door panels off and have inspected the lines as well as possible. I'm going back to the garage that can put smoke in the system and I should be abletofind the last leak that way.

    But does the cruise control work on vacuum? I know that there are two modules that operate it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Don't know your car but yes many cruise systems did work on vacuum/electric.
  • ang4ang4 Member Posts: 1
    I have a Civic and there is 4 inches of water in the trunk and a very wet floor in the backseat. I don't know where it's coming from. My brother tells me that it might have been rear-ended. Any suggestions?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Lay some newspaper down in the dry trunk (once you've dried it out) and spray the trunk with a garden hose. Two possibilities you might see on the newspaper when you open the trunk are water in the very back of the trunk only, which would be tail light lens gaskets, or water along the sides of the newspaper, which suggests a bad truck lid gasket. Water at the top of the newspaper (edge nearest the driver) might suggest a bad back window gasket.

    You can test the trunk seal by laying business cards across it at various points and then closing the lid. If you can pull the cards out easily, the trunk seal is either very compressed from age or your lid is misaligned.
  • twoten1957twoten1957 Member Posts: 1

    just noticed that i have the same problem on my 99 towncar. carpet is total soaked from rain. your info i'm sure will be very helpful. one quick question i have though, is how do you remove the plastic trim panels on the side. i tried pulling on them, but i'm afraid i may crack one. any hints or tips you can forward? again, really approciate your help...
  • sandlappersandlapper Member Posts: 3
    Sorry, I don't recall ... it's been well over a year. My post was more specific to how to find & fix a leak peculiar to TC ... rather than how to get seats & carpet out. I do recall the plastic side panels are rather tough & not very brittle. Sorry I cannot recall more.
  • vnielsenvnielsen Member Posts: 1
    I just read Jetta Julie's post about the misterious leak in her VW Jetta's passenger side. Could it be condensation? The reason I ask is that I own a 2003 VW Golf. A few weeks ago I returned from a week away to find my car's windshield all fogged up. Strangely, no other car in the airport lot had the same problem. When I opened the passenger side door, I found the floor on that side to be completely soaked. As I tried to find the source of the leak, I observed some water streaks on the dashboard over the passenger seat. Nothing else in the car was wet. I checked the sunroof which had some mild condensation inside, but not enough to drip. Everything else was sealed tight. I took my car in and the dealer found nothing! Last week, after a freezing rain the same thing happened. Could it be condensation? If so, why is it happening now? It never happened before. Any ideas, solutions??? Please help. Thanks!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    No what happened is that water leaked into the car FIRST and then that water caused the condensation on the windows, not the other way around.
  • buzzdoobuzzdoo Member Posts: 1
    Mr Shiftright. 1991 TC Cartier. Moonroof. Rain results in standing water in floorboard of rear passenger driver side. see some dripping about moon roof. Moon roof may need adjustment - it is not quite in spec. But I think there is likely a drain problem. Can you tell me where the drain tubes (are there more than one?) are located and how to get to them. Do they terminate in the rear wheel wells? Can I use compressed air to blow them out from below? If i need to go into roof trim where do I go in and how? Please help. I have just bought this car and now I've got a swimming pool (but I LOVE the car).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    When you open the moonroof you should be able to see the drain holes and yes you can use compressed air at reasonable pressure. You can actually test the drain by pouring a bit of water down it, and you should see it exiting in front of the rear wheel and if there are two drains per side, also in back of the front wheel.

    Also check the trunk for leaks as water can get in that way; also the rear doors have drain holes on the bottom that can get plugged up.
  • spiritchiefspiritchief Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 Lincoln Town Car,Signature Touring that started to show a puddle of water on the right front carpet recently after a west-coast rain or a car wash.I followed your instructions exactly(except for removing the seats).All the screws and bolts and foam gasket were found as described.The interior was dried out with a ceramic heater as suggested.
    Anyway,its been about 2 weeks since this repair,one car wash later and at least 2 overnite winter rains and all is dry inside.What a relief to find this remedy and I personally thank you for this help.
    Anybody with a '98 or newer Town Car should be ready to correct this if the foam gasket fails.I discarded the gasket but retained its outline when applying the silicone.
  • willis3willis3 Member Posts: 76
    I have a '02 Accord and have discovered water in the trunk, not just one spot but the entire mat being wet and condensation on the underside of the trunk lid.

    I initially thought there was a leak in he trunk somewhere, however the weatherstripping appears to be in tact around the trunk perimeter. Took the car to the dealership last night. They called today to advise that they think it might be a clogged sunroof drain, but cannot determine as the entire trunk is wet again and it's best if they dry it out. They also said there is a lot of water underneath the rear seats.

    I guess this explains why I'm always getting foggy windows - all the moisture that's inside the cabin.

    Hopefully they can fix the problem and more importantly, they deem this covered under the extended warranty.
  • mel45mel45 Member Posts: 1
    Hi, My Neon has been leaking water into the spare tire well and back passenger floor boards. I am NOT mechanically inclined, so I have been soaking up with water with a shop vac for 3 years now. Is there any easy fix that the un-mechanically inclined can manage and not shell out a lot of $$$ thanks Mel45
  • jhbsalesjhbsales Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 Honda Civic 2 door which leaks when it rains, on the driver side only. I've brought it to an auto body shop paid ed $2000.00 and it still leaks. They first took out the dash board and patched something, but still had the same problem, the second time the patched something on the front fender. Same problem, now they don't want to work on the car anymore. Other than the leak the car is great it's got 50,000 miles and runs like a charm. any advise on how i myself can find and fix this situation. Ih I had the sun roof drains clean first?????
  • jeffeverettjeffeverett Member Posts: 8
    Get some clear silicone and put it wherever you think it might be leaking,,,or running from !!
  • jipsterjipster Member Posts: 6,232
    If it's leaking from the door and your mechanic is pulling out dashboards and front fenders... it may be time to find another mechanic.
    2020 Honda Accord EX-L, 2011 Hyundai Veracruz, 2010 Mercury Milan Premiere, 2007 Kia Optima
  • nanaki13nanaki13 Member Posts: 1
    Whats the best way to clean up after you fix the leak? I had soaking wet backseat and carpets because of a pool of water in the trunk (Honda Civic). What should I do now, other than thoroughly drying, to make sure that there is no mold or mildew -- especially so that there is no bad smell?
  • woolybugwoolybug Member Posts: 1

    Have the same year, model, and water problem as you described. Symptoms first showed up three weeks ago. Searched the web and found your posting but no others.

    Have you received any responses of found any help and/or solutions?

    Thanks in advance for your reply.

    Woolybug (that is the name of a trout fishing lure)
  • ruffwillowruffwillow Member Posts: 3
    Hey, I had a similar problem with water leaking into my car onto the floors. It was in the front and also the back floorboards. I solved it (I hope) by resealing my windshield. I don't know how my floors in the back got wet, but I think it was merely capilary action. Since sealing my windshield I haven't had more than a couple drops dripped onto my front floor boards even in heavy rains, and no more water in the back. If that's not it, you could always check to see if your air intake drain is clogged. If the drain gets clogged the water can fill up inside the wall between the engine compartment and you, until it spills over into the interior of the car. Another easy thing to check is the drain plugs in the bottom of your car. If they have fallen out or gotten pushed up inside, then the interior will get wet while you are driving it. My dad had this problem and found out really quick by going to an oil change place and having them go under the car and check. Very easy fix. Just some possibilities you can look into. I hope this helps some. Trust me you, have my sympathy. There is nothing more frustrating than the "mystery leak". :)
  • jim399jim399 Member Posts: 2
    Every time it rains I get a huge puddle of water in the rear foot well on drivers side. It is not coming in from the trunk that is dry.I think somehow its coming in from under one of the doors behind the molding.The only area that gets soaked is in this well. All other areas are dry as a bone.Need HELP. Please no technical nomenclature. Thanks.
  • kiawahkiawah Member Posts: 3,666
    Each door, has a drain hole (or two), at the bottom edge. It allows any water that runs down the glass and goes inside the door, to drain out on the outside of the car. Check to make sure those drain holes are open and not clogged with something. Open the door, get down under the door and look up to see where the drain slots are. Stick a thin wire or screwdriver up to make sure it's not clogged. If your door sloshes when you open it, or if water drains out of hole when you clean it out with the wire, that's your problem for sure.

    If that is not your problem, then if you have a sunroof you may have a clogged/defective drain line with that. Water that leaks around the sunroof seal, drains out a tube. If that tube is clogged, or split, you'll have water in the car.
  • jim399jim399 Member Posts: 2
    kiawah, Thanks for the quick response. I checked the drain holes on the door and they seem to be OK. I don't have a sun roof but I do have a vinyl roof on the rear window area.Maybe the rain is coming in around that area.
  • ann30ann30 Member Posts: 1
    Per the 2001 HONDA ODYSSEY Shop Manual...Body Section
    Here is the procedure:
    Note: Take care not to scratch the dashboard and related parts
    Put on gloves to protect your hands.

    1) Make sure you have the ANTI-THEFT Code for the radio, then write down the
    frequencies for the preset buttons.
    2) Remove these items:
    - Center Lower console
    - Center Panel
    - Audio Unit
    - Display Unit (with navigation)
    3) Remove the beverage holder base:
    a) Detach the hook from under the beverage holder.
    (hook is at rear of bottom of beverage holder. You probably have to
    pull out holder to almost full extension.)
    b) Pull the beverage holder out.
    c) Remove the screws that are on the underside of the holder.
    d) Remove the beverage holder base from the center lower console opening.

    4) Install the beverage holder base in the reverse order of removal and enter the
    ANTI-THEFT Code for the radio, then enter the customer's radio station

    Hope this helps. There is a sketch in the manual.
  • warrenulwarrenul Member Posts: 50
    I noticed that my passenger side rug is getting wet.

    It does not smell like antifreeze, so I don't believe it's the heater core. Coolant tank is at max level when cold.

    It has rained here recently and I think its a water leak, but I don't know where its coming from. Maybe from the fresh air intake?

    Does the cowl drain into the evaporator housing and then thru a drain tube?

    I would like to check both the cowl and a/c drain, if someone could help me locate them.

    Has anyone else experienced this or have any ideas and fixes?

  • gkwiatkowskigkwiatkowski Member Posts: 1
    I have the same problem with my 1994 olds delta 88. I've discovered part of it. when i pour water down the front of my windshield, it funnels it toward the driver side front quarter panel. Most of it drains to the concrete. However, some of it drains (drips) into the front driver side floor board through a leak up behind the parking break near the firewall. I had to pull back the carpet. It gets into the back seat by running along a groove in the steel to the back seat where it eventually dead ends. then it spills over into the back seat floor board as well. I think i'll have to take off my front quarter panel to seal whatever hole is there to fix it.

    Have you had any response?
  • moeburgermoeburger Member Posts: 5
    i own a 2003 mitsubishi eclipse gt, which i only have( 5 ) more payments one. it is the one thing i bought myself, after putting 2 kids and a husband through school. my problem is that about 2 months ago, my car started leaking water into the passenger side, mainly startin in the front. i mean about 3 inches or so. in the whole passenger side. we tried to seal up the passenger side windshield and accompanying side roof areas. i have been vacumming it up, but it only happens with a heavy rain storm. i've tried the water hose on the car with absolutely no results. i do have a sun roof with absolutely no visible damage on the roof upholstery.( it can't be coming from there), no water standing in the center console, no visible accumulation of water in the side panels, and no touchable water feel under the dash, which leads me to think it's not coming from under the dash.... so where is this water coming from????? i have yet to see any drips from up high???? it's ruing my "baby"!! any ideas?
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