This hatchback has car weather stripping that's so worn it's cracked and discolored.

Car Weather Stripping Care

Your car’s weather stripping serves a dual purpose by keeping water out and helping to muffle road noise inside the cabin. Car weather stripping should last for many years, but sun, moisture and time will take its toll and necessitate at least partial replacement. Here’s a look at two telltale signs of defective weather stripping and what you can do to fix the problem.

Unexplained Water Inside Your Vehicle

Chris FUnless you left a door, window or moonroof open, there’s no reason for water to be inside your car. However, if the inside door frame, seat or flooring is wet, there’s a good chance that water is seeping in from somewhere.

One way to confirm where water is coming in is by sitting in your car while it goes through the car wash. If there’s a place for water to seep in, the car wash will reveal it. You may need a flashlight to spot the leak. Run the light over the entire frame of each door, the top of the windshield, around the moonroof or sunroof and along the back window. Pinpoint the exact location of the leak, then examine it after the wash is complete.

Increased Cabin Noise Seeping In

Worn weather stripping or a worn door seal may not always cause a leak — at least not initially. What it can do is cause road noise to seep into the cabin.

Fortunately, the fix is sometimes as easy as inspecting the weather stripping to ensure it’s seated properly in the door frame. As long as the stripping is in one piece and isn’t broken, cracked or split, you can simply put it back in the grooves that hold it in place.

Replacing Your Car Weather Stripping

If you need to replace your weather stripping, you can cut out just the worn section and replace it. However, in doing so, you may have trouble finding the correct stripping to match what wore out. Further, there is no guarantee that water won’t seep between the cracks, even if you seal it.

The better option is to simply purchase weather stripping and replace it in its entirety. That way, you’ll ensure that the new stripping is an exact fit for the affected door.

Once the new weather stripping is in place, you should treat it to protect it. Just as you apply protectant to the tires, dashboard, steering wheel and other surfaces, make it a habit to do the same for your weather stripping each time you clean your car. By doing so, you’ll extend the life of the stripping and keep both water and noise from invading the cabin.

Check out all the body and chassis parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 16,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on car weather stripping, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

about author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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