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My car leaks when it rains. Rain drips from the visor area. I suspect an area outside and above the windshield that is showing some rust. I also suspect that my windshield was not replaced (long ago) properly - which resulted in the nicked area, which resulted in rust.

It is bad enough that during a good rain, not only will the edge of the seats get damp, the floor mats get soaked, and worse, the car floor itself collects all of the rain that has leaked, and pools so the heel of my foot and the hem of my pants get wet when I'm driving.

The car is 19 years old ('97 Toyota RAV4), I am it's only owner, and even if I had the $$ to buy new (which I don't) I would rather reinvest in what some would consider a clunker, but I see as a car having served with honor.

Did I forget to mention that I live in Florida, where 6 months out of the year is considered "the rainy season"?! There are some weeks it rains almost consistently every day, so the car never really gets a chance to dry out before the rain comes again. You can imagine that this will sometimes result in an unpleasant damp smell in my car. As rain is an unpredictable, though always probable and likely event (living in Florida), leaving the windows open so the car can air out is not often an option.

When cleaning the car interior, I routinely take the mats out and scrub them, and will use upholstery foam cleaners to clean the car floor and seats - basically anywhere there is upholstery or carpeting - to mitigate the smell and resulting mildew ... but during the rainy season this is a never-ending battle that is unrealistic to keep up with.

Is there a quick, easy (I know zero/zip/nada about car repair/diy) and - most important - inexpensive repair for this situation?

  • It depends on how the water is getting into the car. If there's a hole in the body of the car due to rust you'd have to patch it. If the seal on the windshield is leaking you can call an autoglass guy and have them reseal the windshield. – Ben Jun 6 '16 at 20:52
  • The rusted area seems like the most-likely culprit, as I did not have this leak problem when the windshield was initially replaced. Does that make sense? – Ceylon_17 Jun 6 '16 at 20:53
  • Somewhat, without seeing it it's hard to say. Does the car have a sunroof? – Ben Jun 6 '16 at 20:58
  • No sunroof, so no other "point of entry" for rain leak. I will try to take pics and post, if that will help with facilitating constructive solutions. :-) – Ceylon_17 Jun 6 '16 at 21:00
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This solution applied to my '82 Oldsmobile back in the day. I suspect you might have a similar situation. The windshield on that car was actually glued onto the front of the frame with a black urethane glue, it also rests on a couple of metal tabs that keep the windshield from sliding down.

When they replaced my windshield the put too much glue on the bottom of the glass and on one side it did not rest on the little tab. That was fine for a couple of years but in the heat the window slowly slid down in front of the tab until there was a little crack on the top where water could get in.

The right solution would have been to cut out the glass and reinstall it correctly. That can be pricey since the glass can be broken in the process. As a cheep college student I just bought a tube of that black urethane goo and filled in along the gap at the top of the glass.

That would be pretty cheap, likely less than $10.

  • This is definitely worth considering! I may give this a try! – Ceylon_17 Jun 6 '16 at 21:18
  • My father had the same thing on his 99 checvy pickup. Replace the windshield fixed the leak. I am having the same issue in my 97 suburban, but also have a rust patch there I want to fix before the new windshield goes in. My father covered the area in all kinds of caulk, and gasket maker. It didn't fix the leak and really pissed off the windshield people, because it was hard to clean off. – rpmerf Jun 8 '16 at 12:03
  • @rpmerf I totally agree, don't use random caulk, you want to use actual windshield urathane like this stuff amzn.com/B000RW1XCK and try to keep it neat. Looking at the reviews it appears that alcohol is the preferred cleanup solvent. I think I just used a solvent called Thoro, which is no longer sold, I am sure it was ultra-toxic but it would dissolve anything! – Ukko Jun 8 '16 at 13:55

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