How to Fix a Loose and Leaky Glass Seal
Do you hear whistling sounds or feel a draft coming on whenever you drive? Chances are that the glass seals around your car's windshield and windows may have come loose. Glass seals are made of synthetic rubber that shrinks over time, making it pull away from its adhesive and come loose. Synthetic rubber also becomes brittle with age and can be easily damaged by rocks and other objects. And while many guides recommend replacing the glass seal once it starts to leak, but if it is still in fairly good condition, you might still be able to save it.
Difficulty level: Easy
What you'll need:
- Extra glass seal strip
- Flathead screwdriver
- Silicone sealant with applicator
- Sharp knife or scissors
- Index card
- Tin snips (optional)
Step 1: Identify where the leak is coming from. Start by doing an ocular inspection of the seals. Look for cracks, tears, and areas where the seal has come loose. Also, check the part where one of the seal connects with the other end, as the gap in between tends to become larger over time.
Another more accurate way to check for leaks is by pouring soapy water on the trim and aiming pressurized air toward the edges of the windshield on the inside of the car. If there's a leak, bubbles will foam in the soapy water around that area.
Step 2: Once you've found the leak, slowly remove the seal surrounding it. Loosen and remove the screws securing the seal into the channel, then spray the area with adhesive remover and let it sit for several minutes before attempting to pull the rubber strip out. If the rubber doesn't budge, spray it again with adhesive remover and try again after a few minutes.
Step 3: Cut out the damaged part of the seal with the knife or a pair of scissors. Some seals may have a metal strip inside for support, in which case you may need to use a pair of tin snips or a similar tool to cut through the metal.
Step 4: Clean the channel around and under the seal. Spray it with adhesive remover to remove any leftover adhesive and scrape off any solid residue with a knife or a steel ruler.
Step 5: Apply sealant under and around the seal. We recommend using a silicone-based sealant as it can last 20 years before breaking down and can withstand severe heat and cold.
Step 6: Press the seal firmly into the window or windshield channel. This will cause sealant to be displaced, so use an index card to remove any excess sealant.
Step 7: Cut down the extra piece of seal down to size and insert it into the gap. Apply sealant into any remaining spaces around the seals and remove any excess with the index card.
Step 8: Spray the seal with silicone-based oil. This will help make the seal supple and prevent it from becoming brittle.
Step 9: Reattach the screws onto the seal. If the screws are already corroded, replace them with a new set.
Note: The sealant can take days or even weeks to cure depending on the brand, so make sure to check the label.