Case Studies

Sunroof Water Leaks And How To Prevent Them

Tech Tip – How’s Your Sunroof Drains?

Important Service Tip – Make sure your sunroof tracks are clean and clear as debris will find their way into the drain system, causing water to backup or leak inside your car. Pine needles, and leaves, both pretty common this time of year, are not your friends. This is especially true if you park your vehicle outside, somehow that stuff always finds its way in.

How – You can “Do It Yourself” by fully opening your sunroof, inspecting the track, and the areas underneath. Then carefully and manually clearing away all the debris you see in the track, in extreme cases, you might need to use a vacuum cleaner. Try to avoid parking under trees, espcaully pine trees, if you can help it.

Check The Drains – Make sure your sunroof drains are clean and clear by slowing pouring a cup of water on each side, near the drain holes, and observing that it drains away. Modern sunroofs are not designed to seal perfectly from water entry, some always gets through, especially in the large glass panoramic designs. This is what the drains are for, to handle the water that finds its way in, and to direct it down the drains, and not into the car. By the way, this design is always the prime reason why aftermarket sunroofs almost always invariably leak, as they do not have the water track and drain system, and rely instead on a perfect seal.

Clogged Drains
– Normally this water entry is not a problem, but when the drain tubes get clogged, all manner of havoc can break loose. These tubes are designed to take the water that makes it around the seal, and drain it down the front “A Pillars”, the metal channels on either side of the front windshield. Once these tubes clog, they often allow water to leak inside the car, making for a wet headliner, carpet, dash, or giving rise to all sorts of electrical gremlins. If you have clogged sunroof drains, seek immediate professional correction, before water entry damages your car, or its electronics. Be very careful about cleaning the drains with compressed air, or wire snakes, lest you disconnect, puncture or damage the drain tubes, requiring removal of the headliner of the vehicle to access and correct.

Twice Yearly – At Atlantic Motorcar Center, we advise checking these on a regular basis, and clean as needed, usually twice yearly. It’s important, if you are having your vehicle maintained elsewhere, to make sure this simple, but vital service is carried out. An ounce of prevention, worth a pound of cure.

All Cars – By the way, this is not use a Mini Cooper or VW problem, we see the same issue on Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Volvo, Saab, Lexus, and other brands. If you have a sunroof, check the drains, sooner, rather than later, and as noted, this is doubly true if you park outside.

Value – At Atlantic Motorcar, we’re all about providing our customers not only Great Service but also Value. We understand that “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” (my mom would be proud I remembered that.), in other words, preventing, or catching problems like these brake lines early, can save you more than just money.

Finally – Questions, or if we can be of help in any way with service on your Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Mini Cooper or other European (and now Japanese) import, please contact us. Our team of Service Specialists is here to help, for even the newest autos! (207) 882-9969.

Knowing, not just “doing”, that’s the Atlantic Motorcar Center way.

The Atlantic Motorcar Center Service Team

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