It rained last night.
Now, as you open your car door the next morning, you’re greeted by an overwhelming smell of stale, stuffy, moldy upholstery.
Your weather stripping is most likely at fault.
Weather stripping is a thin piece of rubber that lines the windows and doors on your car. This rubber helps insulate your car from the outside temperature, prevent leaks, and keep your doors closed properly.
The weather stripping is on the outside of your car, which means it has to stand up against rain, snow, heat, and debris. At some point, it will give out.
Keep reading to learn the signs your car window or car door weather stripping needs to be replaced.
What Happens When Your Weather Stripping Is in Bad Condition?
Over time, the outdoor elements will wear your weather stripping down. When this happens, you’ll notice a few problems with your car’s windows and doors.
Here’s a closer look below.
Worn out weather stripping on your windows — especially your windsheild — will allow water to leak into the vehicle.
This can lead to a host of problems.
The moisture can get into your carpet and upholstery and promote mold growth. Not only will this shorten the lifespan of your interior, but it will also create an unhealthy driving environment.
Rust can also start to form around the leak. This can also lead to health risks if not dealt with.
Small pieces of dirt and debris can also work their way into the vehicle when you’re on the road. And on top of all this, your car can also start to stink.
Water can also leak through the weather stripping around the doors if it’s not in good condition. Like with windows, this moisture may cause mold and rust to grown inside your car.
But the doors need weather stripping for a different reason.
The rubber weather stripping is what holds your car doors closed. Without this stripping, the metal door can’t cling to the metal door frame.
Doors with worn out weather stripping might have trouble closing or staying closed.
Signs Your Weather Stripping Needs to Be Replaced
If you don’t know what to look for, it can be hard to associate the problems you’re noticing to worn-out weather stripping.
To help you out, we’ve put together a quick list of some of the main warning signs that something’s wrong with your weather stripping. Let’s dive in.
This might be the most obvious sign you have bad weather stripping, especially if you see the water dripping through your windshield while you’re on the road.
But even if you don’t see the leak yourself, if your upholstery is damp or you notice water on your dashboard, it most likely came from your weather stripping.
2. Mold and Rust
You might not notice the leak until you smell mold or find rust inside your car.
If you can’t find any other cause for the mold or rust, there’s a good chance your weather stripping isn’t doing its job.
3. Interior Temperature
The weather stripping around your windows and doors keeps the elements out of your car, but it also helps insulate your car from the outside temperature.
Worn-out weather stripping will allow warm or cold air to escape outside through the cracks.
If your car is having trouble heating up or cooling down the interior, it might not be the fault of the heater or conditioner (if it is, a product like Irontite can fix the problem). Your weather stripping may need to be replaced instead.
4. Road Noise
Does the traffic in the lane next to you seem louder than usual?
While it might not actually be louder, your soundproofing may be worse. Weather stripping helps block out the sounds of other drivers or construction work.
Extra loud traffic might mean your weather stripping is starting to fail. So don’t ignore this sign even if you don’t notice any of the other warnings of bad weather stripping.
Taking action right away can help you prevent leaks and mold.
How to Replace Damaged Weather Stripping
You can repair worn-out weather stripping on your own at home. But make sure the new weather stripping is the same type and length as your old stripping.
To start, take some time to find the leak. This can be a lot harder than it sounds. Water can travel along the rim of the weather stripping, so the leak isn’t always where the water is dripping.
Do your best to listen to where the air is getting in. You can also spray your car with a hose to pinpoint the leak.
Once you know where the leak (or leaks) is, you can decide if you want to repair or replace it. In most cases, it’s better to replace the stripping. If there’s one hole, more will follow soon.
Unscrew the stripping and peel it off the car. Then wash and dry the new weather stripping and set it in place with some adhesive. Make sure it’s in the right place, push it in harder, and put the screws back.
How to Know When Your Car Door Weather Stripping Needs to Be Replaced
If there’s water leaking through the door or it’s having trouble staying closed, your car door weather stripping needs to be replaced. In case your window is leaking or your car can’t heat or cool the interior air properly, you should replace your window weather stripping.
Keep an eye out for these warning signs. When you notice one of these problems, check your weather stripping first.
Worried your car window decals might be worn out?
Take a look at this guide to learn how to protect them from the elements.