How to Fix a Leaking Sunroof

You can solve most leaking sunroof problems by clearing a clogged drain tube with your shop vacuum. Here are the step-by-step instructions that can make this a DIY job.

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Fixing a Leaking Sunroof

Fixing a Leaking Sunroof

You’ve got water on your seats right below the sunroof, and you’re about to take matters into your own hands. We’re warning you: Put down the caulk gun and step away from the vehicle! Usually it’s simply a drain tube that’s clogged with debris. Then the water can’t drain and it overflows into the cabin. And that’s a simple DIY repair for a leaking sunroof that you can do in about 20 minutes.

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Vacuum the Sunroof's Drain Tube

Vacuum the Sunroof’s Drain Tube

Open your sunroof and look for the drain holes in both front corners. Those tubes run through the door pillars and drain through to the rocker panels. You may be tempted to run a coat hanger down the tubes or blast them with compressed air. Don’t! You might poke the wire right through the tubing or disconnect it from the drain hole. Then you’d have to remove the entire headliner to reconnect it-a big job. Instead, use a shop vacuum and small-diameter vinyl tubing to suck out the clog. Make a hose reducer with ordinary PVC plumbing parts and attach a vinyl hose to the end. Then vacuum the crud out of the water channel and the drain tube.

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Insert a Snake into Your Leaking Sunroof

Insert a Snake into Your Leaking Sunroof

If that doesn’t do the trick, try running a very small flexible “plumbing” snake down the tube to break up the clog. Snake out a really stubborn clog with a speedometer cable (found at any auto parts store for about $8). Twist the cable as you feed it down the tube.

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Last Resort: Caulk Your Leaky Sunroof

Last Resort: Caulk Your Leaky Sunroof

If cleaning the tubes doesn’t work, don’t try to disassemble the mechanism or bend the sheet metal to get a better fit. That’s a job for a top-notch body shop. If the car isn’t worth the cost of the repair, we rescind our earlier warning. Go for the silicone and live without the wind in your hair.

Check out more do-it-yourself car maintenance tips!
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