When car door seals go bad?

I think the seals in my car doors are going bad.

I’m noticing that the carpet under the floor mats in my front driver’s seat and the seat behind the driver are sopping wet, especially when it rains for days. At first, I thought my wife had spilled something and forgot to tell me, but now I believe that the water is seeping in from the door seals. There is a terrible odor from damp carpet. I can dry it out with newspaper, but I wish I could figure out how to get the door seals to, uh, seal better.

I took it to my mechanic and he just shook his head, like WTF are you bothering me with this stupid shit. I don’t know. He advised me to clean the gunk off the seals as best I could, and that seemed to help, but now it’s back and I’m getting disgusted. The car is an 2002 Jetta: it’s paid for, runs good enough, and doesn’t look too terrible, so I don’t want to give it up. But this smell is giving me the fits.

Is there an inexpensive way to fix this? I’m thinking a product like Fix-a-flat or that stuff you pour in your radiator when you have a leak and it automatically fixes you up. I’m talking something that requires no tools and or technical knowledge. Perhaps something that comes in a aerosol spray can? Is there, like a product I can buy to spray on my door seals that will improve its ability to keep out water?

My father had a car that leaked through the top of the windshield. He brought it to several places. They applied sealant, reset the window and still it leaked. The thing is that water will always find its way into a car if there is even the smallest crack or opening.

It’s tough. You fill one place and it drips from another. It’s essentially leak chasing. Especially because a car has a lot of vibration in regular use. A seal that works for a week may fail eventually because vibration broke the seal.

That’s why things like silicone sealant and the things you mention will break down. A car flexes with use. The gaskets that the put in originally are made to avoid this. But they get old and dry up. Thus leaks.

I’d wait until the car is dry and sit in the car. Then have someone spray it with a strong hose. Go all over the car. Look for moisture. That will at least give you a general idea of where the water is coming from. But hey, it might be coming from your roof and finally leaking under your back seat. Such is water.

Sorry if this wasn’t helpful. Good luck man.

Buy a chilton’s guide or check one out of the library and see how much work it would be to replace the seals.

In some model’s they just pop in. Others are a fair bit of work.

Aighty. Thanks guys. What you’re saying makes a lot of sense Rich. I think I’ll just try cleaning the gunk from the door jamb again.

The water seems to seep in under the driver’s side door. Or, at least, that’s one place it’s coming in. If I open the door and look real close, I can see a little trail of water that “pops” the ridge between inside and outside and trails down the carpet. It’s very faint. I see what you’re saying about the seals and vibrations and that makes a lot of sense. They are dry and occasionally grow little bits of moss and green stuff here and there. I"m have to start sopping up the rugs with newspaper again.

dfs, thanks for your help. My mechanic said this car was one of the ones that’s a pain in the ass. :( Might have to go with the airfreshener approach.

Can anyone suggest a good air freshener? :)

Not trying to dis your mechanic, but I would still go look up how hard it is.
My mechanic has been known to turn down work he didn’t want to do simply because he was more than busy enough with work he DID want to do.

hahaha, good point. Bastards, though it’s exactly what I would do. :)

I had a similar problem in my '89 VW Fox. I finally figured out it was leaking in from the trunk and I patched the weather stripping there.

I’ve also had this problem (albeit with a different make/model), and it was surprisingly easy to re-line the door. Mind you, if you’re worried about perfect looks then you may want to go to a professional, but you can likely get some trim-to-fit weatherstripping pretty cheap. dfs has the right of it, imho - check the Chiltons.

Whew. Never get tired of reading that.

LOL - glad to help ;)

I’m married with older children.
If anybody ever admits that I was right, it’s in the past tense as in…“Yeah…dad/dear, maybe you were right.”

To hear it in the current tense without the disclaiming “maybe” is just kind of disorienting.