There is nothing worse than a leaking sunroof. It makes a mess and it is never fun to sit in a wet seat, but a leaking sun roof can also permanently mar your car’s interior. You risk staining and even mold. Depending on the location of the leak, electrical components could short out. In other words, there is no reason to wait on taking care of the issue. Luckily, whether you have a slow leak or a roof that spills gallons of water, the steps you need to take to repair a leaking sunroof yourself are the same and surprisingly easy.
First, make sure that the leak isn’t due to user error. Always allow the sun roof to slide along its track and close completely rather than trying to time its close. The sunroof motor with stop automatically once the sun roof is completely closed.
Locate the Drain Tubes
Once you have ruled out user error, the most common reason for a leaking sun roof is a clogged drain tube. Small debris collects in the drain holes causing the water to collect instead of drain, and before you know it it’s “raining” in your car. Check this first by opening your sunroof and checking along the edges for the drain holes. These are commonly in the front corners of the sun roof but some cars do vary from this.
Clear the Drains
You may be able to see the clogging debris, but you may not. Remove whatever materials you can see that are covering the drains. You can remove it by using a shop vacuum with a narrow tip or hose attachment to suck out the offending materials. You can also do this periodically to prevent a leaking sun roof.
Break Up the Clogs
The sun roof drains are connected to drain tubes that run through the door panels and drain out the rocker. Over time, these drains can become clogged with the accumulated debris that had clogged the drain holes. You can vacuum these drain tubes yourself, but first you have to break up the clog. The easiest way to do this is thread a narrow plumbing snake through the tubes or use some speedometer cable to dislodge the clog.
Vacuum the Drain Tubes
Once you have broken up the clog, you can clear these out by fabricating a shop vacuum attachment with PVC pipe. You can use a PVC trap adapter fit into your existing hose, then fit that piece with PVC cap. Next, insert a barbed adapter through the cap and attach a vinyl hose to fit the adapter. Use this device to clear the drains by inserting the end of the vinyl hose into the drain tubes and turning the vacuum on.
If this doesn’t work, you are going to have to take your car to the shop to get it fixed. Fair warning. You should expect an expensive repair bill. Alternatively, you could close the sunroof and seal it with silicone caulking if the car isn’t worth it or you are willing to live without the sunroof for a while.