Sunroof Leak Repair: Convertibles & Hardtops
Sunroof Leak Repair: Convertibles & Hardtops
As Spring gives way to Summer, it becoming harder to ignore the urge to roll down the windows, open the sunroof, or drop the soft top on your car and let the wind blow through your hair. Conversely, a Summer shower pouring into your vehicle can ruin your upholstery, your electronics, and your comfort while you’re driving. With this in mind, it may be time to check your vehicle’s roof and rubber seals for water leaks and ensure that you don’t find yourself sitting in a deluge while attempting to navigate the roadways safely. A sunroof leak repair can cost quite a bit of money, we’ll give you options on how to fix leaking car roofs.
Water Leaking into Car From Roof
A water leak in your car can cause some pretty severe damage. Rainwater can cause mold to grow on the upholstery, in the cushions of the car seats, and carpeting on the floor. A water leak can also cause rain to drip into the power locks and power window controls and cause them to short out. Water damaged cars decrease significantly in value for resale, and water damage repair can be very expensive.
If the water damage is dealt with quickly (with a wet/dry vac and/or an upholstery cleaner), mold and mildew problems can be avoided. Still, the best course of action is preventative upkeep. For this reason, it’s important to know how to find a water leak in the roof of your car.
How to Find a Roof Leak
A leaking roof isn’t always the easiest thing to spot. When one finds water in their car, it’s normally found inside of the footwells on the floor. Is the car leaking water from the window, the roof, or the windshield? Even if you’re certain the leak is coming from the roof, to stop roof leak, you’re going to need to find the spot (or spots) where leaks are present.
The best way to pinpoint where the leak is coming from is to catch it when it happens. If you witness the leak while driving in the rain or going through a carwash, you won’t have to do much detective work. If you’re unable to witness the leak naturally, you can spray a hose over your car’s exterior and look for the point from which water is entering the interior. It’s advised to do this with a partner; this way someone can sit in the passenger compartment, while the other sprays the vehicle from the outside.
How to Fix a Leaky Roof
Once you’ve found the source of the leak, you’ll need to know how to fix a leaking roof.
A few quick and easy steps will have the leak(s) patched in no time:
- Purchase a roof sealant for leaks from an automotive shop or hardware store.
- Clean the leaking area and dry it with a rag or towel.
- Place a small amount of sealant on the leak area.
- Using a sealant spreader or piece of cardboard, cover the hole evenly.
- Allow the area to dry for at least 20 minutes. A hair dryer can be used to expedite the process.
- Repeat the spray test on the exterior of the vehicle; concentrating on the area that’s been patched with sealant.
Note: If your car is under warranty, you can have water leak repair done professionally at little or no cost.
Convertible Top Care
Summertime is when the convertibles start popping up all over the road. Anybody who owns a convertible is counting the days until the warm season when they can drop the top on sunny days. However, on those not-so-sunny days, it’s important to make sure that the car’s interior is properly sealed from the elements outside.
The first thing a convertible owner should consider is preventative maintenance. Before you hit the road with your vehicle, here are some protective measures you can take to ensure your convertible is properly sealed:
Make Sure the Drains are Clear:
Convertibles are designed with a sophisticated system to keep water out of the car. A series of drains, flaps, and tubes are built into the car to channel rainwater through the body of the vehicle to expel to the ground.
If you open the roof enough, you’ll be able to see all the rubber seals and drainage components. As you gently pour water over this water management system, the drain holes will become apparent.
By working some wire through the holes, or spraying some compressed air into them, you’ll be able to eliminate debris. Also remove any large debris like leaves, bugs, or paper to ensure the drainage system is clear of obstructions.
Lubricate the Seals:
A convertible’s roof panels, body panels, doors, and windows are lined with rubber seals. The seals are put in place to prevent water from entering the car.
A rubber seal can dry out and become cracked and damaged with age. A proper lubricant will extend the life of the rubber seals, improve their functionality, and prevent dry seals from rubber against one another; pulling them out of position.
Adjusting Roof Panels:
Like any vehicle, a convertible will bounce, shake, and vibrate while being driven. Over time, this can cause roof panels and other components to shift, which, in turn, can lead to small gaps where water can enter the vehicle.
A dealership or a specialized maintenance facility can do a realignment of the convertible components to ensure the passenger compartment is sealed properly.
Convertible Top Repair
Note: This section is intended to assist with soft top convertible repairs. Hardtop convertibles with roof issues should be taken to a professional technician.
Cloth tops on convertibles can wear with time, and holes and tears will begin to appear. Because the cloth is under a considerable amount of tension, a small tear can quickly rip clear across the surface. Whether you’re using a convertible top repair kit, or doing it yourself with household items, repairing a soft top convertible roof is a fairly simple task.
- Step 1- Stitching
Using some strong thread or wire and a curved sewing needle, stitch the tear in the fabric. A tight cross stitch pattern down the full length of the tear will yield the best results.
- Step 2- Glue
Apply some masking tape over the tear from the inside of the vehicle. This will hold the tear together (keeping the stitching intact) and prevent the glue from leaking into the vehicle. Once this is done, liberally apply a heavy duty glue to the stitched seam from the outside of the car.
- Step 3- Patching
Once the glue has dried, remove the masking tape from the underside of the tear. You can now use either a store bought patch from a sewing or craft store, or cut your own from canvas. Sew the patch over the tear from the inside of the car. Using canvas is advised as it enables you to look for a color that matches the fabric of the convertible top.
- Step 4- Seal the Patch
Using the same glue that was used on the tear itself, seal the stitching holes on the perimeter of the patch. This will prevent any moisture from leaking into the vehicle from the seam. Once the glue has dried, file or sand away any excess glue with sandpaper or a nail file.
Leaking Sunroof Repair
Sunroof leaking is an issue that takes the pleasure of having an opening window in your car’s ceiling and turns it into a dripping, aggravating nuisance. The problems can be handled quite easily though with the proper know-how.
How to Fix a Leaking Sunroof
- Step 1 –
First, clear the sunroof trough of any visible debris. The trough is located just inside the rubber seal and is meant to collect water that comes through the sunroof. Once the debris has been cleared, wipe it down with a rag.
- Step 2 –
Find the sunroof drain tubes; these are small holes located in the corners of the sunroof under the seal. Using a can of compressed air, shoot air through the drain tubes to dislodge any dirt or debris that has collected within.
- Step 3 –
Using a thin metal wire, or some string trimmer line from a weed trimmer, clean the drain holes. Slide the wire through the drain tube while twisting. The wire should push out any dirt and debris. Close the sunroof and pour water over it. If this does not stop the water leak, continue to the next step.
- Step 4 –
Check the outer seal around the sunroof for cracks or other damage. Seals can dry out from exposure to heat, and will no longer resist leakage properly. If the area around the seal is moldy or pooling water, clean the seal and the surrounding area and dry it with a towel.
- Step 5 –
Generously apply liquid electrical tape over the seal. Be sure to cover any cracks or openings in the seal. Press the liquid tape firmly around the seal and allow it to dry. Once it dries, pour water over the sunroof to be sure the leak is fixed.
If the leak persists, take the vehicle to a licensed repair facility for further maintenance.
Roof Leak Repair Cost
If your vehicle requires professional service to fix a roof leak, the prices will vary based on the type of vehicle you’re driving, as well as the diagnosis of the problem.
Convertible Top Replacement Cost:
- If the top on your convertible cannot be fixed and must be replaced, the estimated replacement cost generally falls between $900 and $1500.
Home much does it cost to fix a sunroof
- Sunroof Repair Cost: Sunroof replacement is estimated to cost roughly $500. Professional repair with labor will come between $300 and $1,000.
An extended auto warranty (or protection plan) for your vehicle is a great way to cut down on such expensive costs. Putting warranty coverage on your vehicle before leaks occur will save you from spending money on repairs that can be caused by roof leaks; such as electrical or mechanical malfunctions. Don’t let water sneak into your vehicle to ruin the vehicle’s pricey components or your driving experience.