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On my 2003 ('04 Model spec) Right Hand Drive Volkswagen Bora (Jetta) Mk4 PD130 TDI SE (Comfortline) I have wetness both on and under my floor mats and in the carpet. The damp seems to be concentrated near the drivers door opening and spreads backwards so can be felt in the rear a little and forwards under the pedals.

Does anyone have any model specific or general advice on how to establish and rectify where the water is coming in?

Also, does anyone have any specific advice regarding tips or techniques I can use to dry the vehicle?

Please remember that I'm in the north of England so nighttime temperatures are typically around -3 degrees celsius, daytime temperatures peak at around +7. Furthermore, the car does not have a sunroof. I'm not sure if that's relevant. Finally, the car is usually parked outside facing downhill on a fairly steep gradient. I can park it facing uphill overnight but obviously can't park it on the level.

Any help will be really appreciated as I'm currently having to scrape ice from the inside of the windscreen each morning.

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Best advice to dry it out: Open both front doors and put a fan in there blowing towards the wetness. If it's super-wet, you can use a hand-held carpet cleaner (like a "Spot Bot") or wet-dry vac to suck up as much as possible before putting a fan on it. – JPhi1618 Feb 24 at 21:37
    
@JPhi1618 in the OP's current climate heat would also be required. When I had a similar leak, I could get a litre or so of water out by pressing down on towels and wringing them out repeatedly. – Chris H Feb 25 at 8:22
up vote 6 down vote accepted

There are several places water can get into the cabin of a car, some of the more typical are:

  • Through tired door and window seals.
  • Through drain holes in the floor.
  • Condensation from your breath and/or the air-conditioning system.
  • brought in on your shoes, clothing etc.
  • through rust holes, missing bungs, etc.

Explicit leaks would result in more water when it has been raining, condensation etc would have similar amounts of water all the time.

A good way to test for an explicit leak is to sit in the car and get an assistant to spray it with a hosepipe, paying particular attention to any areas you suspect - such as rear window and door seals if you usually park facing downhill. You then look out for any signs of water coming in.

To dry it out, I'd suggest a passive dehumidifier/ moisture trap, such as 'kilrock' or similar - these have crystals that absorb moisture from the air and deposit it in a container - I used one in my old Land-Rover when I had the same problem, and found it to be quite effective. Make sure it's wedged firmly in place so it can't spill however, and take care when emptying/refilling, as the resultant chemical is caustic.

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thanks for the input Nick, I'm sure that it's water coming in as opposed to condensation. I have a feeling it's much worse since washing the car so suspect it's dripping in rather than coming up from the road. I'll pick up a moisture trap today as it's a good idea. Ice scrapers don't work very well on the inside of a curved windscreen! – Steve Matthews Feb 24 at 10:34
    
If you have a leak, those moisture traps (the silica gel ones with a little heater in) don't help much (see my answer for how I know). I bought a water-sucking attachment for an ordinary vacuum cleaner which worked wonders, with a moisture trap to finish the job. – Chris H Feb 24 at 14:40
    
... and you'd get through a lot of the non-rechargeable ones. – Chris H Feb 24 at 14:45
    
I had some success overnight at controlling the level of moisture on the glass. I did some research and used what I had available. An old sock, stuffed with Silica based cat litter placed on the dashboard last night lead to a completely condensation free windscreen this morning. The carpet is still soaking however. I've cleaned the drain holes in the door and am driving with the blower set on the carpet with the window slightly open but I think it will still take a while to dry out. The real test will be the next rainfall. – Steve Matthews Feb 25 at 9:26

Nick C pointed some good things to look but forgave one important thing in my opinion.

First let me ask you a question : Do you have many trees near your house/where you park your car or near the parking at work? If so my bet would be clogged drain from the bottom of your windshield. In my short experience with car all the time a car was leaking inside this was the cause (around me there are many trees) and this was on 4 differents cars and 3 differents make (Vw, Pontiac and Ford).

If you are a diyer, you can unscrew the inner fender and the drain should be easy to see. Than see if they are clogged, if so remove all you can and than do the other side. If you are not a diyer just take it to a garage and mention you think this is the cause this should be a quick and easy job for any shop, it should take less than 1 hour.

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Another source of leakage that I eventually tracked down (myself, the garage couldn't find it) on a Corsa was the rubber gasket where the heating/aircon pipes come through the firewall. It no longer made a seal to the pipes. Eventually the solution was bathroom sealant (as a new gasket would be a major job given the aircon), but I improved matters considerably with cable ties and cut up rubber boots around the pipes.

I could feel slack seals from both sides (assuming I took enough interior trim/carpet off of course) but couldn't really see it from any angle, inside or outside.

Incidentally, unless I caught it at exactly the right water level, it seemed to be concentrated near the drivers door. That was just a matter of camber/ the shape of the floor pan. It could be felt in the back at its worst.

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