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Car Care: Is your car crying on the inside?
By Jack Biddle • 26/07/2015
IT PAYS TO CHECK FOR LEAKS, ESPECIALLY AFTER A REPAIR
WE’VE talked about the benefits of owners carrying out simple and easy non-technical checks to help extend a vehicle’s life and avoid unwanted repairs, costs and inconvenience.
One of those recommendations was to feel the carpets occasionally for dampness and to check the spare wheel recess for water pooling, which is often a sign there is an unwelcome water leak into the vehicle.
For one Driven reader the tip paid immediate dividends. On lifting the floor mats and touching the carpet, Serina discovered a very wet piece of carpet in the driver’s side front footwell.
This saturated piece of carpet and underfelt helped explain the unpleasant smell that had recently appeared in the vehicle. Long story short, a thorough external water leak test revealed the wet carpet was the result of a leaking front windscreen.
As with a lot of leaks, the entry point of the water was some distance from the resulting damage. Water was able to track its way undetected behind the dashboard before ending its journey on the vehicle floor.
There are usually only a few reasons why windscreens leak on motor vehicles. Severe body corrosion around the windscreen aperture is an open invitation for water to slowly work its way into a vehicle. This is more likely in older vehicles.
Leaks can also develop after the windscreen has been removed and refitted after body repairs have been carried out, or replaced because of some kind of damage.
In Serina’s case, the windscreen had not long been replaced under insurance after a stone chip had developed into a large and unrepairable crack.
We won’t go into the quality of the windscreen repair. The message to get across to all owners is to do some very easy self-checks a week or so after a windscreen has been replaced.
How? Simply get out the garden hose and give the vehicle a good water leak test, including altering the direction of the spray or changing the angle of the vehicle when parked on the driveway.
Leaks after a windscreen replacement are usually caused by a small gap left in the sealing bead which sits between the body aperture and the glass. Glass companies and their installers usually give clear instructions to owners on when or how their vehicles can be driven after screen replacement, as those wee gaps can develop if the body begins to flex before the sealant has had time to cure.
The other area to check after your windscreen has been replaced is the surrounding trims. Make sure they are secure and keep a close eye on them for a good few weeks after repairs.
Often the trims are held in place by original manufacturer’s clips which can be damaged when trims are removed. Over time, they can work loose and become dislodged when travelling on open highways.
On the subject of highways, keep an ear out for unusual wind whistles around the windscreen after replacement. Wind, like water, can find pinholes in the sealant.
Pressing on the screen from the inside while driving can sometimes change the noise and confirm a sealing issue. I’m sure most windscreen repairs are carried out to a high standard, but do your checks afterwards regardless. It’s easy, and can help stop/prevent permanent damage.
Remember: water is the enemy of a vehicle’s interior in more ways than one.