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How to Fix Leaking Roof Rack

How to Fix Leaking Roof Rack

The roof is an essential part of a car because it serves several purposes. See, it’s on the roof you mount your roof rack. Also, the roof covers the whole cabin to protect you from the weather. So without further ado, learn how to fix leaking roof rack.

Frankly speaking, a leaking roof can give you the worst experience behind the wheel. So, how can I stop my roof rack bolt holes from leaking? Read on to learn essential tips.

Thankfully, you don’t need a degree in automotive engineering to seal a leaking roof rack hole. You need little skills, and you’ll save a lot of cash you would pay a specialist.

Here’s one of the best sealants to use.

Let’s dive in;

Why Do Roof Racks Leak?

black backpack on car dashboard
Roof rack

It’s embarrassing every time you see rain clouds and know you are about to face the trouble.

That aside, there are several causes of water leak from roof rack channel. Take a look;

  • Poor installation of the roof rack can lead to improper mounting. As such, you will notice some water on the headliner.
  • The age of the vehicle and the roof rack may also be a contributing factor. See, the more you use the rack, the mounting bolts, washers, and the screws may wear and let water in.
  • Rust may also cause the roof rack to leak. That’s after a long time of exposure to weather without repainting.

The above reasons may lead to a leaky roof rack. And it would become worse if you don’t take immediate action once you notice the signs.

The worst result is more rusting, a foul smell in the cabin, and mold growth.

How to Fix Leaking Roof Rack

yellow Volkswagen Beetle car
Roof rack

You can fix car roof leaking with simple do-it-yourself tasks. Permatex Ultra Black RTV Silicone Gasket Maker is the best sealant for car roof leaks.

This car roof leak sealant has a non-corrosive formula to protect your car roof from further damage.

Step 1: Inspect the Leak

First, inspect the mounting holes that the water is leaking through. If your car is old, other parts may also be leaking.

To confirm whether the roof rack holes are letting water in, check the edges where the mounting is installed.

If the water is stained around the headliner edges, there are possibly leaking rack mounting holes.

Step 2: Remove the Roof Rack Cross Bars

You will have to remove the roof rack, including the side rails. But the crossbars aren’t firmly attached.

So, you can disconnect the bars first by adjusting and sliding them from the roof rails.

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man standing beside of black SUV
White roof rack

Step 3: Remove the Roof Rack Mounting Hardware

Ply out rails’ foot caps of both rear and front mounting. Finally, you will have access to screws and bolts that mount them on the roof.

Afterward, remove the bolts and the mounting screws using a screwdriver and place them in a safe area.

The idea of securing them is because they are small, and you can easily lose them.

Step 4:  Remove Debris from the Roof

Use a damp sponge or a microfiber cloth to rub off the debris from the roof. When cleaning, focus on the areas around the holes to allow easy application of the silicone sealant.

However, if you notice some rust in the area due to trapped water, spray a little Fluid film rust & corrosion protection to prevent further rusting.  

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Step 5: Apply Silicone Sealant

Apply silicone sealant to the holes on the roof surface and fill them.

Secondly, apply the sealant on the screws and bolts. Smear it on the washers but avoid wastage.

Then, place the mounting screws in a safe area to prevent dust from blowing on the freshly applied sealant.

Step 6: Reinstall the Mounting

Place the mounting on the area and adjust them to ensure the roof surface holes align with the holes on the mounts.

If the car has weather stripping tapes laid beneath the mountings, reinstall them. On the other hand,  if the weather stripping tapes are worn out, replace them.

Step 7: Secure the Mounting using Screws

Insert the screws in the holes and tighten them using a screwdriver. While tightening, check on the sides and ensure most sealant remains underneath the washers to fill the spaces.

However, don’t over-tighten the screws because you may expose most of the sealant outside the washers.

Afterward, replace the end caps by applying a little force using your hands.

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Step 8: Test for the Leaks

Test for leaks before concluding that you have perfectly done the job. First, connect a garden hose to a tap. Then, spray water directly to the car roof.

If you opt to visit the car wash, ask the attendant to check for you. But if you decide to test it at home, seek help from one adult and inspect the interior as they spray water on the roof.

Step 9: Reinstall the Cross Bars

Reinstall the crossbars and always load the recommended weight to minimize damages. But before you can use the car, take it for detailing to remove the stains and bad smell.

FAQs on Fixing a Leaking Roof Rack

Why is Water Leaking From the Roof of My Car?

Sunroofs and roof rack mounting holes are the most common causes of leaking car roofs. The leaks are caused by sunroofs’ failure to close properly due to electrical or mechanical issues.

Why Does My Car Leak Water Inside When it Rains?

Damaged or loose weather stripping on the roof rack mounting may cause leakages. Replace weather-stripping and apply sealant once you notice leakages. If the problem persists, seek help from a specialist.

How Do You Seal a Bolt on a Roof Rack?

Apply a small amount of silicone sealant to the holes and round the bolts. Afterward, tighten the bolt and allow it to dry. Silicone sealant provides adequate waterproofing.

Can Flex Seal Fix Leaking Roof?

Flex tapes or glues are very effective because they can be applied on the roof, even in wet conditions.

How to fix leaking roof rack is a simple do-it-yourself task that doesn’t need special skills. But if your car roof is highly damaged, take it to specialists for repair.

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