How to Install or Repair Weatherstripping on an Automobile

Faulty or old weatherstripping should be replaced to prevent whistles and leaks inside your vehicle. If your car's interior or trunk gets wet when you wash the car or when it rains, use a garden hose to locate the areas on the weatherstripping that let the water in. If the windows whistle when you drive with them closed, check the weatherstripping for the cause of the sound effects.

If your old weatherstripping is in pretty good shape but is letting in air or water in one or two small areas, try applying weatherstripping adhesive under the loose portions, or use a clear silicone sealer (which comes in a tube) to seal around the areas that leak.

If the weatherstripping is old, dried, cracked, or worn, you can probably buy a whole new piece designed for your vehicle’s make, model, and year at your dealer’s service department.

To install new weatherstripping, follow these steps:

  1. Check to see whether the new weatherstripping is the same as the old piece you’re replacing.

    The piece should be the same shape and thickness and should have holes, channels, and rubber studs on the inner side that match the ones on the original.

  2. Remove any screws and gently peel off the old weatherstripping, prying any rubber studs out of the holes they’re inserted into without damaging the paint or scratching the surrounding trim.

    If the weatherstripping is hard to remove, spray weatherstripping remover around the area and wait until the adhesive softens before continuing.

  3. Remove any old adhesive that remains on the frame after the seal is gone.

    Use weatherstripping remover.

  4. Insert the new weatherstripping into the frame.

    Make sure that it fits the holes and contours of the frame. Then gently remove it.

  5. Make sure that the new weatherstripping is clean.

    Either rinse it off and dry it thoroughly or use fine-grain sandpaper to remove any unwanted bumps and rough spots.

  6. Apply weatherstripping adhesive sparingly to the strip and to the surface of the frame.

  7. Before the adhesive dries, replace the new weatherstripping.

    Make sure that every rubber stud or other fastening device is in its hole securely.

  8. Replace any screws that you removed, and make sure that the ends of the weatherstripping meet and are glued down securely.

A quick and easy way to patch things up if you don’t care how they look is to get a roll of black household weatherstripping about a 1⁄2-inch wide with an adhesive back and simply stick small pieces of it onto or under the weatherstripping in the trouble areas. This stuff is also useful for keeping camper hatches and sunroofs from leaking or banging if they don’t fit quite perfectly and for keeping rain from coming past the rubber sleeve where the camper shell meets the cab of a truck. You can always use it around the house, too!

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