How To Prevent Car Sunroof From Leaking Water

While having a sunroof on your car is fantastic additional equipment, many people are afraid that one day, the sunroof will start to leak water. And unfortunately, in many cases, that is true.

But as always, there are some steps you can take to prevent sunroofs from leaking.

Key Steps To Prevent Car Sunroof From Leaking Water:

  • Check and clean the drains regularly since they can clog up and cause the sunroof to leak water.
  • Do not park your car under the trees with opened sunroof, especially during autumn.
  • Apply rubber seal restorers to all the rubber and gaskets around the sunroof to prevent them from cracking and wearing. 

3 Tips To Prevent Car Sunroof From Leaking Water

car sunroof leaking water

1. Check and Clean The Drains Regularly

Checking and regularly cleaning the drains is the most important thing you should do to prevent sunroof from leaking. Yet many people forget to do this step.

I suggest cleaning the drains once a month throughout the year, except in the autumn, when I recommend that you do this twice a month.

Cleaning the drains is pretty simple, but it requires some caution and a special tool. Below is my recommended tool, and you can also check the video to see how it works here.

AOCISKA 60 Inch Long Wire Brush Sunroof Drain Cleaning Tool,Long Drain Brush Flexible Feeding Tube...
  • [Durable Material] Our pipeline cleaning brush is made of stainless steel and durable nylon rotating...
  • [Bendable] The total length of the hose brush is 60 ", the diameter of the bristle is 2", and the...
  • [Practical Design] The design of this long wire brush is very practical, with a brush on one side...

Drain holes are located on the edges of the sunroof, and you should locate them first. It’s pretty similar on all cars, and you should be able to see them once you open the sunroof of your vehicle.

2. Watch Where You Park Your Car

I know that parking the car under the tree sounds like a great option to move your car away from the Sun, but the reality is that it does more harm than good to your car, especially if you have a sunroof.

Leaves, tree sap, bugs, droppings, and other contaminants fall from the tree, and if you leave your car parked there all the time, there’s a big probability that the drains in your sunroof will clog in no time. 

Parking under the tree is not a smart choice, no matter if you keep your sunroof open or closed. But if you have to park that way, at least close your sunroof and remove any leaves that accumulate on the car before you drive away.

3. Apply Rubber Seal Restorers

Many older cars start to leak water through the sunroof once the seals become worn, and that’s why you should apply rubber seal restorers on a regular basis. I suggest that you do that whenever you’re detailing your car. 

One of the best seal restorers for cars is 303 Rubber Seal Protectant. But if you don’t have the means to purchase them, you can also apply Vaseline, which many of us already have at home.

The process of application is simple: just apply the seal restorer, wait for it to soak into the rubber, and clean the residue with a dry microfiber cloth. 

Causes of Car Sunroof Leaking

There are four main causes of car sunroof leaking:

  • Clogged or damaged drains.
  • Damaged sunroof closing/opening mechanism.
  • Worn rubber seals (gaskets).
  • Human factor (forgetting to close sunroof on time, mechanical damage, etc.).

Clogged or damaged drains are the number one reason why most sunroofs start to leak water, but it’s also the easiest one to fix once it happens.

Do All Sunroofs Eventually Leak?

Unfortunately, from my experience, all sunroofs will eventually start to leak. While that can be fixed, it can’t be completely avoided.

Luckily, you can postpone that for a long time. With proper cleaning and maintance, sunroofs should hold up to 20-30 years without any problems. 

If not properly maintained, some sunroofs start to leak even after five to seven years, which is too quickly. Then you’ll have more problems except the leaking sunroof, such as a dirty car headliner that should be cleaned as well because of water stains.

Now, you can imagine how much it can help if you start following the prevention tips that I’ve shared above.


How Long Do Sunroofs Last?

Sunroofs usually last as long as a car lasts. But sunroofs that aren’t maintained well will last up to 15 years, and then they’ll have to be fixed. That’s from my experience. 

Is It Possible to Seal a Sunroof?

The sunroof can be sealed entirely if you don’t need it. The best way to fully seal a sunroof is by taping it with a high-quality duck tape (which I don’t recommend because it’s ugly), or by adhesing it in the bearing, in a closed position so it can never open again. 

Is It Normal For a Sunroof To Leak in a Car Wash?

Sunroofs shouldn’t leak during a car wash. However, it may happen if you point high-pressure water directly into it, and drains can’t sustain so much water flow. If you spot some leakage inside the car, I recommend checking out the drainage holes and cleaning them to prevent the sunroof from leaking in the future.

Final Thoughts

While unmaintained car sunroofs are prone to leaking water, by regularly cleaning the drainage system, not parking your car under trees, and applying protectants to all the rubber seals, you can prevent that from happening for many, many years. 

This is once again proof that car detailing is important and that you should take care of your car if you want a car that works for years, and in the end, that will save you a bunch of money in the long run.

If you want to learn the best way to detail your car, I recommend you check out my article that shows you everything step-by-step.