Sunroofs are a wonderful feature to have in your car. Whether you use your sunroof regularly or only once in a while, you probably don’t expect it to leak—and sometimes you may not even notice until it’s too late! Here’s what you need to check to figure out if your sunroof is leaking.
How to tell if you have a leak
You may think that it’ll be easy to tell when you have a leak, but you’d be surprised! Small leaks sometimes occur after improper glass replacement and go unnoticed for quite a while. Also, water may not be where you’d expect it to be. A leak in your windshield doesn’t mean that water will pool on your dashboard, just as a leak in your sunroof doesn’t mean you’ll feel water dripping on your head while you drive!
Instead, look for these signs:
- A musty smell, mold, or mildew
- Excessive window condensation/fogging inside your car
- Wet or damp floor (check under your floor mats and in your trunk!)
Keep in mind that leaks often cause water to travel to unexpected areas of your car’s interior.
Check your windshield
Before checking your sunroof, inspect your windshield. Look for:
- Chips and cracks
- Wear and tear in your windshield lining
- Missing windshield lining
While it will probably be easy to tell if you have a leak after rain or taking your car through the carwash, you can also test for a leak with a garden hose. If possible, avoid your sunroof so you can determine the leak is actually coming from your windshield!
Learn more: How to Test Your Windshield for a Leak
Check your sunroof
If you can’t detect any damage in your windshield, move on to your sunroof. Like before, you should check for any obvious issues like cracks and damaged lining. However, this time, you should take some extra steps to check for a leak:
Make sure your sunroof can close properly
Like your windows, your sunroof can get stuck. Start by making sure your sunroof is closed all the way, creating a proper seal. Check to make sure the motor is working properly by opening and closing your sunroof. If it seems sluggish or won’t move, it’s best to take it to a professional as soon as you can.
Is your sunroof clogged?
Did you know your sunroof actually has drain holes—typically in the four corners of the frame? These drains divert water through tubing that flows through your door pillars and out through the underside of your vehicle. When this drainage system is clogged, it can cause water to build up and travel to places it’s not supposed to! If you can’t seem to find a leak anywhere else, a clog may be to blame!
What NOT to do
While it may be tempting to try clearing your sunroof drain tubes with a can of compressed air from your local auto parts store or a wire coat hanger from your closet, you’re more likely to poke a hole in the tubing and cause more harm than good. Instead, try a shop vac with a precision attachment to remove debris or take it to a professional! Clearing your sunroof drainage system is typically an inexpensive service—as long as there aren’t bigger problems from a botched DIY job.