How to Repair Your Car’s Weather Stripping

car door weather stripping

It’s easy to overlook your auto weather stripping, the pieces of rubber and soft plastic that help seal the insides of vehicles and make closing the door quieter. Car weather stripping seals gaps and helps to keep dirt, wind, rain and snow out. But with time the stripping can crack and split.

You can usually tell it’s time for more car window weather stripping by the whooshing noise you may hear zipping down the highway with your windows closed, or mysterious water stains found on your car’s carpet or upholstery could be a sign you need to repair your car door weather stripping.

Finding the gap

First you have to find just where your car’s weather stripping has failed. This isn’t always easy. Water can travel along the stripping, making it seem as if the leak is in one place when it’s actually coming from elsewhere. However, if you listen closely to the whooshing you have a much better chance of pinpointing the source of the gap. Another possibility is to aim your garden hose at your car and watch to see at what point the vehicle starts leaking. You can also look for areas of worn weather stripping, with an eye towards areas that have cracked or are brittle to the touch.

Fixing the problem

What’s next? You could fix only the area in question or opt to replace all the weather stripping to prevent future leaks anywhere on the vehicle.

First make sure you have your replacement weather stripping that is the same type and of equal length. You can buy either an inexpensive generic strip as a replacement or go with the factory stripping, which might be more likely to fit and to look better.

To take off the old weather stripping, remove any screws holding the pieces in place and then tug away at the stripping as well as the underlying adhesive layer to remove it from the car, applying adhesive remover if necessary.

Before placing the new stripping, first clean and dry the channel with a towel. Then apply a seam of adhesive and gently press the weather stripping into the channel. Once you are certain the stripping is correctly aligned, go back and apply stronger pressure and then replace any needed screws.

Preventing future problems

To ward off future problems, you may want to clean your car weather stripping as part of your usual maintenance routine to keep it from wearing out prematurely. Simply fill a bucket with warm, soapy water and sponge away any dirt from the stripping. Then repeat this using just clean water and allow the stripping to air-dry before closing the doors.

Once or twice a year you may also want to apply a silicone-based conditioner to keep the weather stripping pliable. Simply spray the conditioner onto a clean, dry cloth and then work it along the length of the stripping. With this kind of regular maintenance, your auto weather stripping will keep the elements out where they belong.

When winter hits, you want your weather stripping in peak condition to fight off the cold and snow. For more ways you can prepare your car for winter, check out this post.