What to do if the sunroof leaks

How to eliminate water leakage through the sunroof in the car

Some 30 years ago a sunroof on the car was exotic, as they were installed only on cars in the premium class. Now, with the purchase of any new car, you can order it as a separate option or then mount it yourself. This accessory allows you to ventilate the interior and at the same time not to blow out the passengers, and in sunny weather lift your mood. But with all the positive qualities it has a significant disadvantage – any breach of the integrity of the roof, even very well sealed, tends to lose airtightness over time and then leaks are unavoidable. With the removal of this problem the motorist can easily cope himself.

What to do if the hatch leaks in the car

What is a sunroof

A sunroof is a mechanism consisting of two main parts: a movable panel, usually glass, and a frame mounted in the hole in the roof. Depending on how the glass moves, these accessories are categorized into groups. They are divided into:

  • hinged or liftable;
  • sliding;
  • mounted;
  • folding.

Types of hatches

The most common and easy to install lift hatches, in which one side of the panel is hinged, allowing air access. This is done manually or with the help of an electric motor. In the sliding “shutters” glass moves, forming an opening, on rails backwards, and both above the roof, and in the cabin. Built-in hatches – a variation of the previous type, but they move in a recess between the roof and the trim. They are mounted only in industrial conditions. Folding – this is the same sliding, but since the panels are made of waterproof fabric, then they simply fold when moving.

Hatch Repair

Causes of hatch failure

The main cause of the hatch leakage is a breach of the seal. Over time, the temperature changes, the rubber seal begins to crack, and the glue on which it is seated, also loses its properties, and the water begins to flow either under it or through cracks. The next cause of leakage may be a failure of the electric actuator, when the panel is jammed in the ajar position. Through the built-in hatches, in which the water is diverted through special holes in the frames, through the drain pipes inside the body to the outside, the water inside the cabin can penetrate because of the elementary clogging of these “storm drains”. The most serious cause of failure of this mechanism may become a damage to the guides, when you can not do without a complete replacement of the entire unit.

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Hatch Failure Remedy

It is not difficult to solve the problem of a leak in the sunroof at once. It is enough to have with you a sealant and seal the place of the leak. But to solve this problem thoroughly – you will need to twist. It is somewhat easier to do it on the mounted hatches, when it is enough to wire or rope to clean the drainage pipes.

Sealant application

Replacing the gasket

It is not difficult and replacement of the gasket, if it’s only a cracked rubber. To do this, the old rubber is removed, the place of its shrinkage is cleaned of glue residue and dirt, degreased, thoroughly smeared with sealant, the width of the sealant and put on a new one. If on sale will not be molded sealing ring, you can put a door gasket instead, but only the joint must necessarily prozilekaniyu.

Repair of the electric sunroof motor

Replacing a burnt out electric motor is not a difficult task either. Access is good on all machines, so unscrewing it and putting in a new one is easy. Temporarily fixing the leak can be done by disconnecting the actuator rod from the panel and putting it back in place manually and then pressing it again with the actuator pin so it doesn’t open with the wind.

Repairing the guides

The most difficult can be the repair of damaged guides, as to get to them you need to disassemble the entire mechanism. It is not always possible to find the necessary spare parts. Therefore, most often you have to change the entire unit, and it is already an expensive pleasure. But if you need to use the hatch not very often (when a car is equipped with air conditioner this necessity disappears at all), the owner can lock it forever – he will get rid of the leaky ceiling, but the panel won’t be able to move it.

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How to use the sunroof

Therefore, before buying a car with a hatch opening, every motorist should think about whether he needs a “time bomb” over his head, which at any time can “burst” a stream of cold rain water into the cabin.

What to do if the sunroof leaks in the car

Sunroof cars that belonged to the class of “elite” vehicles used to be considered a sign of luxury and the envy of many motorists. A sunroof improves interior lighting, visually expands the space and creates a feeling of comfort, provides additional ventilation in the cabin. Therefore, some motorists sought to buy a foreign car with a cut-in standard sunroof, while others were looking to cut a sunroof into their cars.

However, it turned out that besides the obvious advantages a sunroof in the car is an additional problem. Over time it begins to leak, and to eliminate this unpleasant malfunction is extremely difficult.

Modern technical means and materials allow today to cope with this problem, but to perform such repairs with their own hands is not easy and not always cheap.

photo 1

What are the hatches, and why do they leak?

Structurally, all modifications of hatches are similar: they consist of a movable transparent cover-panel, stationary frame with gaskets, mounted in the car roof, and mechanisms for opening / closing (curtains, guides, electric motor, etc.). Actually, depending on these mechanisms and opening hatches are divided into several types:

  • Liftable (hinged) – the most common version of the hatch, which you can install yourself on any machine. This type of hatch opens on the curtains – the frame is lifted one or two sides up.
  • Sliding – hatches, in which the panel slides to the side: the cover-panel moves along the side rails, almost completely opening the frame space. Installed in a number of factory brands of cars, but may also be installed independently (the panel goes into the cabin or roof).
  • Built-in – factory hatches complex design, in which the panel has a sliding principle of movement and is removed into a special recess inside the upper surface of the car body.
  • Folding – a rare hatch models, in which the top cover-panel during the opening is going to a hinge and slides to one of the walls of the frame.
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The lifting type of hatch is usually opened manually, other modifications may have both manual and electric drive.

It should be noted that the difference in designs and opening mechanisms almost does not affect the set of disadvantages of the hatch for the car – they all have almost the same faults, and leaks after a few years of operation any of the models.

Leaking hatches are associated with several structural elements:

  • gaskets – from constant mechanical and thermal loads, exposure to precipitation and natural wear and tear, the sealing rubber dries out, cracks, moves away from the mounting grooves and ceases to provide a frame seal;
  • guides – mechanical parts wear out, loosen, cease to provide a tight fit;
  • actuators – electric motors can wear out, malfunction, spontaneously shut off, short out or burn out;
  • Drain pipes – usually installed in the “factory” hatches, over time clogged and cease to drain the water, so that moisture begins to flow into the car.

In addition, the “specific” cause of water leakage is often associated with the quality of installation of hatches, which are mounted non-factory way – they often let the water between the frame and the cover-panel.

photo 2

How to fix a leaking car hatch?

Most of the problems listed above, the owner of the car can fix with their own hands, without turning to professional craftsmen.

Replacement of seals

If the sealing rubber is “hardened”, dried up and covered with cracks, it should be replaced. You need to buy accessories for your make/model of machine, which best fit the dimensions to the size of the sunroof. If the sunroof manufacturer is unknown, you can choose a standard automobile seal made of thick rubber with a mounting slot.

You need to remove/slide the cover-panel and remove the old seal. After that, the edge of the hatch is cleaned and degreased, adhesive is applied and the new rubber seal is put on. The joints on the non-original hatch can be filled with silicone sealant. Finally, put the cover back in place, close the hatch and leave it to allow the glue to dry.

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Repairing the guides

If the sliding hatch guides are warped or damaged, you will have to disassemble almost the entire hatch structure, and remove the actuator (if there is one). The complexity of replacing “skids” in the fact that you will have to find parts specifically for your car model, which is problematic for older cars.

You will need to remove the cover-panel, dismantle the drive, you twist the guides, install new ones, and then make the assembly. At the same time you can replace the seal (if you are not sure that it is the guides). If you can not find the original pro will have to change the hatch completely.

Repair of electric drive

Failure of the electric drive is usually an obvious failure: it does not start when you turn on or does not provide complete closure of the frame with the lid. Disassembling the motor is no problem: it is always accessible. Your task: find a motor of the same model and connect it correctly to the wiring.

You can also quite easily clean the drainage holes in the factory-designed hatch. To do this, use a thin, flexible rope with a brush on the end.

If even after you replace the components, the hatch will leak water and cause you problems, it is better to glue it completely with clear silicone. Use it for ventilation after that is no longer possible, but it will stop leaking.

photo 3

In conclusion, it should be noted that the hatch in the car is a nice “bonus” to the interior and an additional option for lighting and ventilation of the interior. However, nothing is perfect in the world, and, sooner or later, the hatch may start to leak.

But, since the hatch design is simple enough, you can fix it yourself: you will need to replace the sealing rubber hatch cover guides or actuator. Full assistance of professionals HUNDRED can be required only if you decide to completely replace the worn-out hatch on a new model.

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Author: Kiselev Y.L.

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