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There’s almost nothing worse than getting into your car after a heavy rainstorm and having to sit in wet soggy seats. If this has ever happened to you, then the main culprit could be a leaking sunroof. More specifically, the leak is typically caused by a blocked water drain in the sunroof mechanism. Here is how to fix it.

How to fix a leaking sunroof

An interior view of a car and its sunroof at dusk
An interior view of a car and its sunroof at dusk. | Unsplash

While you might think that fixing a sunroof leak could mean taking it to a mechanic, it doesn’t. In fact, you can fix your car’s sunroof leak yourself in about 20 minutes and with a few easy steps. However, you will need to visit a home improvement store to get the following tools before taking on the task:

  • A shop vacuum
  • Speedometer cable
  • Vinyl hose
  • An air compressor or a can of compressed air

Once you have all of those tools in place, here are a few cleaning methods that you can follow according to Family Handyman:

  • Method 1: Open the sunroof and find the drain holes on either end of it. Those drain tubes run through the door pillars and drain out through the rocker panels. In that case, the best course of action is to use the shop vacuum and small vinyl hose to suck out the debris trapped in those small channels.
  • Method 2: If using a shop vac and small rubber hose doesn’t work, suggests using a flexible wire like a speedometer cable and snaking it down the sunroof drain. By doing so, it should clear out the debris. A weedwhacker line can work as well.
  • Method 3: If the last two methods don’t work, then you can try using an air compressor with a small tube attached to it. The compressed air should blow out the debris and clear the drain.

To test if any of these methods worked, simply pour some water into the sunroof channel and see if it comes out the bottom of the rocker panel. If it does, then you have successfully cleared the drains. If not, then you may want to try a different method.

Why do sunroof drains get clogged?

If you like to drive around with your sunroof open a lot of time, then dirt and debris can accumulate in the drain channels over time. As such, it could be helpful to clean the drains every once in a while to ensure that they don’t get clogged up and start to leak.

What are some symptoms of clogged sunroof drainages?

A driver drives their car around with the sunroof open
A driver drives their car around with the sunroof open. | Unsplash

If you sit in your car after a hard rainstorm, or perhaps even after a good carwash, you may notice that parts of the interior are wet. These parts may include the front seats, floor mats, or even the door panels. If you find that the car is sopping wet, then make sure to dry out the interior as much as possible before cleaning the drains.

If you can, park the car in a garage and leave the windows open overnight. You can also dry the parts of the interior using a large towel and a small space heater. If anything, it’s best to dry the interior as quickly and efficiently as possible to prevent any mold from growing or odors from forming.

After the interior is dry, clean out the sunroof drains as soon as possible. That way, you won’t have to worry about it if it ends up raining again.


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