A leaking windscreen can be an insidious issue. The first sign of a leak may be a musty smell that worsens after driving during the rain or after washing your car. When a leak is particularly bad, you may even notice damp spots in the carpet or droplets inside the car when driving in wet weather. Other signs of leaks can include interior rusts as well as continually foggy windows. The most common source of leaks is the windscreen. This can be caused be a faulty seal between the windscreen and car frame, due to holes, tears, and cracks that develop in the seal overtime. Today we are going to discuss if you have a leaking windscreen, how to test for it, and what to do about it.
Leaking Windscreens – What’s to Blame?
Generally, these kinds of problems stem from windscreen or autoglass issues, though cracks, tears, or holes in the seal. These can form overtime or due to an accident. Unfortunately a leaking windscreen isn’t something you can ignore. The problems associated with a leaking windscreen won’t go away and the excess moisture left inside the car will eventually lead to mould and rust. Both of these elements can severely affect your health, as well as the longevity – and value – of your vehicle. Further, in areas that get quite cold in winter, the water trapped in the windscreen seal can freeze and expand, making the damage to the seal worse. This could even lead to cracks in the windscreen itself.
When it comes to water leaking inside your car, don’t just assume it is due to a faulty seal. Improper installation can also be a culprit when it comes to leaking windscreens. Signs of improper installation can include:
- A whooshing sound when driving at high speeds
- An unusual vibrating or rattling when driving
- Old adhesive was left in the frame
- The windscreen is not flush in the frame
If you think your windscreen is leaking, and/or you’ve seen any of the above, then the leak is likely from an installation error. Or a technician may not have used the correct setting tools or vacuum cups or they performed the repair during the rain, meaning the urethane didn’t adhere to the damp surface.
Further, if you have an older car, this can also cause a leak. Older cars generally use rubber seals that end up deteriorating over time. Modern windscreens adhere to the vehicle body to provide the watertight seal needed to ensure airbag systems deploy properly.
It is also important not to assume that the water inside your car is due to the windscreen leaking. While water can easily come through the windscreen due to sealant leaks and poor installation but also through vents of a broken air conditioner or even through the car body. Further, leaks can happen around doors or sunroofs that haven’t been sealed adequately.
However, if you’ve had your windscreen in place for years and you suddenly notice condensation or fogging on the inside of the car, it could be the deterioration of the seal. Tiny leaks can go unnoticed for months and even years after a windscreen replacement, which makes determining the leak difficult. We always recommend you take your car to a reputable windscreen repairer, like Emergency Windscreens. But there are DIY ways to work out at leaking windscreen.
Finding the Windscreen Leak
The first important step is to rule out any other possibly causes of the leak. This includes a car window isn’t fully closed.
After ruling out other sources of the leak, you’ll require another person to help you. With one person sitting inside the car and another person slowly pouring water over the windscreen seal. Using a hose makes this easier, but it is important to keep the pressure low – you want a steady flow of water without spraying it all over the place. Slowly work around the entire windscreen, with the person inside your car checking for any signs of water trickling into the car.
The next thing you want try is soapy water. Using a sponge or cloth, wipe soapy water around the windscreen edge. Make sure you don’t use too much water because you don’t want the soapy water to stream straight off. Once done, ensure all the car doors and windows are shut tight. Have the person inside the car turn the ventilation system on high with the defog/demister setting on. This ensures that the air flows out of the vents below your windscreen. At this point you want to carefully check the outside of the windscreen for any air escaping from inside the car. This should show around the windscreen seal, causing the soapy water to form more bubbles. As a result, you should reveal the source of the leak.
From the inside of the car you can also use an air compressor or air nozzle to direct air at the rim around your windscreen. If you see any new bubbles forming on the outside of the windscreen then you have a leak.
If you don’t have a friend to help you out, try taking your car through an automatic car wash. If you see water dripping inside the vehicle, then you have a leak.
Can a Leaking Windscreen Be Fixed?
In some cases it is possible for car owners to repair small holes or tears in the windscreen seal. This can be done using windscreen sealants you can buy in most auto parts stores. You should always test the consistency first before applying it per the manufacturer’s instructions.
However, some sealants are more liquid and require more care when applying to your car, otherwise you’ll end up with a mess all over your car body. This is why it is important to mask off the area around the windscreen as an extra guard against sealant. Most sealants will dry or cure quite quickly, so you can get driving again quite soon.
Do You Need to Replace a Leaking Windscreen?
Sometimes the leaking is so severe that your windscreen might need to be replaced. In minor cases, sealant might be enough to patch up and repair the windscreen. But if there’s a significant leak occurring, then whole windscreen needs to be replaced. It is important to know that you cannot replace a windscreen on your own. Only certified technicians, like those from Emergency Windscreens, are qualified to fix and replace your windscreen. They can also provide extra support to ensure you get back on the road as soon, and as safely, as possible.
Professional Help with Leaking Windscreens
To get the best repairs for your leaking windscreen, it is important to get help from a professional windscreen repair and replacement team. At Emergency Windscreens, our professional windscreen repair and replacement technicians have extensive training and experience. Our technicians can quickly and easily diagnose why your windscreen or autoglass is leaking, and assess whether you need a windscreen repair or a full windscreen replacement. Our mobile team can come wherever you are – at home, on the road, or in the office – to ensure you get back on the road, safely, as soon as possible.