The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper


Very often drivers find that the seats or the mats below their feet are damp or downright sopping wet. But unless a window or sunroof was left open during a rainstorm, drivers may find it difficult to decipher why their vehicles are suddenly soaked.

Unfortunately, when a vehicle's interior is wet, that could be a sign of a significant problem, one that can gradually worsen over time. Wetness can cause electrical components or metal structures in the car to rot, and a soggy interior may eventually be overcome by mold. It is best to find out what is causing the leak as soon as possible and have the problem fixed just as quickly.

After taking a vehicle through the car wash,
drivers may notice a leak inside the car.

Finding the source of a leak is not always easy. Sometimes drivers can locate it themselves and then fix the problem on their own, while more serious problems might need to be handled by a professional. But it is best to assess the situation before booking an appointment with your mechanic.

Cars can spring a leak for a variety of reasons. Leaks from systems under the hood, as well as rainwater or water from washing the car, can infiltrate the interior if seals around doors and/or windows are broken or gaskets are worn out. Figuring out which type of liquid is entering your vehicle can help you determine what's behind the leak.

A clear, slippery liquid under the seats may be indicative of a leak in the brake fluid reservoir. Brake fluid is a liquid used in the braking system to apply hydraulic pressure from the master cylinder to the calipers to the pads against the wheel drums. If you discover brake fluid, check the master cylinder or the clutch master cylinder to see if there is a leak or spillover of the fluid.

Coolant also can leak under the dashboard and into the foot wells of a car. Coolant is a sticky, green and sweet-smelling fluid, and a coolant leak could mean that a heater core or hose in the cooling system is leaking. In such instances, hoses may need to be replaced.

Some vehicles have water diverters on the sides of their windshields to make sure water flows off of the windshield when the wipers are in use. Also, the trough where the wipers rest should have a sealant that prevents water from entering at the base of the windshield. Over time, both can wear out and may need to be replaced and resealed. Try sitting in the car on a dry day and spraying a hose on the windshield. See if any water eventually makes it inside of the car. If it does, the windshield is likely the reason your vehicle's interior is getting wet.

A clogged drain in a vehicle's heating, ventilation and air conditioning system is one of the more common causes of interior water damage. If the drain is clogged, condensation from the system cannot drain from the tube. In such instances, water backs up into the system and can actually blow out of the car vents or elsewhere in the vehicle, forming a pool on the floor of the car. Leaves or debris can cause a blockage. If excess water is left in the HVAC system, it can damage the blower motor. Also, a faulty seal that is located between the HVAC case and the firewall of the vehicle may cause water to leak into the passenger compartment under the carpet.

In some cases, cleaning blocked drains in a vehicle's HVAC system may be as simple as blowing compressed air through the vents or using a wire to clear out leaves or dirt. Other times it may be hard to access the leaks, and such instances are often best left to a mechanic.

The causes of leaks in a car are not always so easy to diagnose. But it is important to figure out where the water is coming from early on to minimize the damage water can do to your vehicle.

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