What to Do About a Leaking Windshield
Often the first sign of a leak in your car is a musty smell that worsens after driving in the rain or after having your car washed. If the leak is particularly bad you might even notice wet spots on the carpets, or even see water droplets inside the car when driving in wet weather. The most common source of leaks in a car is the windscreen, either through a faulty seal between the windscreen and the car frame, or because of holes, cracks, and tears that develop in the seal over time.
Unfortunately it is not a problem you should ignore; it won’t go away, and the excess moisture inside the car can eventually lead to mold and rust, affecting both your health and the value of your vehicle. In areas that get quite cold in winter, water trapped in the windscreen seal can freeze and expand, worsening the damage to the seal, and possibly causing cracks in the windscreen itself. So what should you do about a leaking windshield?
Find the Leak
The first step is to rule out other possible causes of the leak, such as a car window that isn’t fully closed. The next step, after ruling out other sources for the leak, is a two person task, with one person sitting inside the vehicle, and the other person slowly pouring water over the windscreen seal. Using a garden hose makes this easier, but keep the pressure low; you want a nice steady flow without water spraying all over the place. Slowly work your way around the entire windscreen, with the person inside the car watching for any signs of water trickling into the car.
If this doesn’t work, you can try using soapy water instead. Using a sponge or soft cloth, wipe soapy water all around the windscreen edge. Don’t use too much water because you don’t want the suds to flow straight off. Close all the car doors and windows and turn the ventilation system on high with the defog/demist setting, so that the air flows out of the vents below your windscreen. Now closely inspect the windscreen on the outside; any air escaping from inside the car through the windscreen seal will cause the soapy water to form more bubbles, revealing the source of the leak.
Can it be Fixed?
It is possible for you to repair most small holes or tears in the windscreen seal using windscreen sealants you can buy in most auto parts stores. Test the consistency out before you apply it following the manufacturer’s instructions. Some are quite liquid and require a little more care when applying so you don’t end up applying too much and messing it all over the car’s body. It’s also best to always apply masking tape around the area as an extra guard against getting the sealant on the windscreen itself or the car body. Most windscreen sealants dry or cure quite quickly, so you won’t have to wait too long before using your car again.
But there are times when you should rather seek professional assistance in getting a leaking windscreen fixed. These include:
- If the leak started soon after you had your windscreen replaced. This would indicate that the replacement wasn’t fit properly, and should be attended to by professionals since it could still be covered by the warranty.
- If the leak is the result of the windscreen seal separating from the car body or the windscreen.
- If there is more than one source of a leak, or you can’t quite tell where the leak is.
At Instant Windscreens our team of professionals have extensive training and experience in finding leaks in windscreens, and knowing when they can be repaired and when they require a full replacement. You should also be aware that any DIY solutions you use are also only temporary and you will need professional advice at some point. Our windscreen techs are available 24/7 and can come to you if you ever find yourself in a position of needing your windscreen attended to urgently.