When your car door seals leak, it’s more than just a passing nuisance. Water damage can occur to your interior, necessitating the replacement of upholstery or other components. In nearly every instance of leaking car door seals, which you may notice in the form of rain making its way inside or an annoying whoosh of air through the car door leak, worn weather stripping around the door is the culprit. While this is a relatively easy fix, it's better to prevent leaking door seals in the first place than incur the cost of replacing the weather stripping down the road. Here are some steps you can take to prevent door seal leaks in your car or truck:
The most effective thing you can do to prevent leaking door seals is to make washing your vehicle’s weather stripping part of your regular car care routine. Here is the best method to clean weather stripping without inadvertently damaging it:
Prepare a bucket full of warm water with a quarter-size dollop of mild detergent, such as dish soap.
Using a soft sponge or cloth, gently scrub the seals with soapy water to remove all dirt and grime.
Rinse the weather stripping thoroughly with just water and a non-sudsy cloth or sponge.
Then, allow the seals to air dry thoroughly with the doors open.
Once they are dry to the touch, you can close the doors and go about business as usual.
Just as you can condition your hair to seal in moisture, you can condition weather stripping to help it hold up to wear and tear from the elements better. Even conditioning door seals once or twice a year can greatly help them last longer, although doing this more frequently (as often as with every wash) is more effective:
Use a silicone-based spray designed for conditioning the weather stripping. Such products are available at most auto parts stores, and avoid any cleaning products that are petroleum based because petroleum can degrade the quality of the soft rubber of the weather stripping.
After you wash and allow the seals to air dry, spritz a generous amount of the conditioning product onto a clean, dry cloth.
Then, gently wipe the conditioner onto the entire surface of the weather stripping of each car or truck door.
With proper care of the weather stripping on your vehicle’s doors, you can prevent leaking door seals for a while, potentially lengthening the life of your seals for years. Eventually, however, all weather stripping will need replacing, although it may take up to decades for the degradation of the original seals to occur. If this happens, know that it is not your fault and just part of the natural order of things when it comes to automobiles. When you notice any leaks, whether in the form of moisture or air, act quickly to keep the repair costs as low as possible.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Can I Prevent Door Seals From Leaking? and was authored by Elan McAfee.