by Pat Goss
We get lots of cars that come into the repair shops with water problems. Now they have water in some of the most unusual places that you’ve ever could imagine. But some of the more common ones, well that's headlights and tail lights.
You see, what happens is that with modern lights made out of plastic, somebody will bump up against your car when you're parking or something like that. And they don’t leave a message or anything, they don’t tell you, so you don’t know until your light fills up with water and becomes an aquarium, as we have over here. That there is a problem.
That problem frequently is that the seams between the different pieces of plastic had cracked and water leaks in. Now, many times you can fix this yourself. You have to take the lamp out, you look to find the crack, then clear RTV sealant. And you simply spread that along the crack, and it’ll seal it up. And it doesn’t look all that bad as well.
Now there’s more to this than just damage to the lights themselves. See, on the backs of these things, you’ve got all types of wires and connections and so on. And water can actually migrate through wires and cause damage several inches or several feet away from the water source. So you want to take care of these things.
Alright, now another thing we see all the time when people come in, they’ve got an odor in the car, smells a little moldy. Well that usually means that you have a mold problem in the car and a mold problem means that you have a water leak. Now, more typical things are going to be door leaks. But how do you tell where? You take the carpeting or the mats, the carpet mats, out of the car, you take a piece of paper towel and place it in each of the four footwells and push down on it hard. The one that comes up with wet on the paper towel, that’s where your leak is.
Then, you open the door, you take an old coat hanger, a wire coat hanger, cut a piece out of it as we’ve done here, and without looking straight at the hole, you take this and take it up through the drain holes in the bottom of the door. Dirt gets in there, clogs them up, and the water spills on over to the inside of the car instead of running out over the rocker panel like it should. So, many times you can solve these problems yourself with just a little bit of effort.
And if you have a question or comment, drop me a line, right here at MotorWeek.