My sunroof is leaking, what should I do? 6 easy steps

My sunroof is leaking, what should I do? 6 easy steps

Hello Beaverton readers!

Thank You once again to all who have written, emailed and called we surely appreciate your feedback. This question comes from Sally of Beaverton.

My sunroof has started to leak and with the raining season upon us, is there something I can do that won’t cost an arm and a leg?

With more and more cars coming equipped with sunroofs this is a very good question. In Sally’s case, she told me she does not park her vehicle in a garage and has a lot of trees in her driveway. These trees drop a lot of tree debris onto her car. I explained that most likely the leak from the roof on the car was due to plugged drains. Let me explain.

Years ago, before the sunroof’s were power devices that slid open, the roof was cut and a sunroof was added. These types of sun roof’s did not have drains so had a tendency to leak. Older folks may remember the many complaints of cars with leaking sunroofs.

Today’s powered sunroofs are equipped with 4 drain tubes that dispose of the water (from rain or melted snow, etc) The drains are located in the 4 corners of the glass roof panel. When we park our vehicle under trees, there will always be some debris that will become lodged into the sun roof track that could eventually clog the drain tubes which lead under the vehicle through the side pillars.

Here are some very simple solutions to freeing up clogged sunroof drains. Obviously with the rainy season here, I hope this article will help many of you.

Step 1 – Wipe the sunroof periphery

The periphery is the trough around the opening of the sunroof. Wipe it down with a damp cloth so that you can remove all the dirt and debris that has collected over the years. Debris can possibly get stuck between the seal and trough area creating openings that allow water to seep through.

Step 2 – Find the draining tubes

Check the corners of the sunroof. This is where you will find the draining tubes. Check the outside for visible blockage. Then go a few inches deeper to see if there are any more clogs.

Step 3 – Feed a thin wire down drainage tube

Push the wire in with very little pressure to feel for clogs. Slowly rotate cable and then push down. Feel for more blockage. This can also be done with compressed air in the event you own an air compressor, with a blow gun attachment.

Step 4 – Pour water inside the drainage system

Take a pitcher of water and slowly pour it in each of the drainage tubes. Observe for proper draining to ensure the water flows properly through the drains and no longer goes inside the vehicle.

Step 5 – Check the rubber lining

The lining of the sunroof could also be wrinkled, loosening the air tight seal while your sunroof is closed. Open the sunroof and check that the rubber seals are not wrinkled and if so, lightly stretch and position them properly. You may have to align them if the lining has moved out of position through constant opening and closing. Wipe around and inside the lining to remove scum that has collected or even pieces of debris. The sunroof, whether controlled automatically or manually, should now be easier to open and close.

Step 6 – Clean Sunroof

Once you have tested and ensure that all the drains are clean and lining up in proper position, maintain the sunroof’s exterior and interior by cleaning it with glass cleaner. Always do a maintenance check especially during the fall season when a lot of leaves and debris collect on the roof.

Thank You all for reading!

I hope this information has been of help to our loyal readers. Please remember folks, we specialize in buying and selling of vehicles of all types. If you have a car to sell, please give us a chance to save or make you $$$. We also do new vehicle leasing and are rarely beat on price.

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(503) 930-1493 or email us:

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