Cabin water leak 2010 Altima

Hi Everyone,

I have a 2010 Altima with 15000 miles on it. About 3 weeks ago I was driving to work when I noticed water leaking down the left (for lack of knowledge), “windshield support.” As I continued to drive the leaking became worse. I took it to my dealer who looked at it and had the, “leak guy” look at it as well. After 2 days they could not find the source. This morning it had been raining all night and again on the way to work the leak returned. Again I took it back to the dealer today and they could not find the leak. I’m due to have the leak expert look at it again next week.

I’m attaching 3 pictures of the leak. When I first get in the car it isn’t there, but as I start driving and using the windshield wipers the leak appears. They state the sunroof drains and not clogged.

Any thoughts are much appreciated. Thanks again!

It appears that the headliner is wet. Just a thought, maybe the windshield is leaking. The shop would call in a glass guy to remove and reinstall the windshield.

If it is leaking between the door and side body then maybe pull the weatherstripping down and bend out the pinch weld.

Your car should still be under warranty. The dealer needs to go to work with a hose and direct the stream around the area until the water leaks into the car. This should give him a clue as to what to fix.

Take a dollar bill and insert it along the door opening at various point. With the door shut you should feel a fairly strong pull on the dollar bill if the door is mating with the seal properly. If the bill pulls out easily the door is probably out of adjustment.

Doors and other panels do get out of whack due to body flex. Body flex occurs with all cars and sometimes adjustments are needed.

Do you have a sunroof?

Looks like this vehicle has a sunroof from the pics… In my VW my sunroof drain tubes exit the car in the doorjamb right near the upper door hinges…on both sides of the vehicle. The ends of these tubes have a closed end on them…looks like someone pinched the tube flat at the end…to prevent critters from getting in the drains. These tubes get debris in them over time (from the top down) and clog up… Happens rather frequently to me cause I leave my sunroof vented a lot… Periodically I squeeze the ends of my drain tubes which opens the flat end… Usually I get a bunch of black crap/dust and leaf debris that comes out along with a rush of water that has been trapped in the tube…when the tube is clogged it will leak at all sorts of places (probably junction points in the tube, why its not a single tube is beyond me) along its route from the roof to the doorjamb… FIND your sunroof drain tube ends and make sure they are clean and clear…sounds like you have a clogged tube or two… Your drain tubes may exit under the car or in the door jamb near a hinge…(just locate them, mite be in your owners manual actually, if not on the net I have them on both sides. Easy fix… This is most likely your issue. Hope this helps


“The dealer needs to go to work with a hose and direct the stream around the area until the water leaks into the car. This should give him a clue as to what to fix.”

Normally a shop would have a shower head on a standpipe and let it “rain” on the vehicle for a long period of time. That way the problem is being replicated, only 1 tech is involved and if all goes well a happy customer and a dry car is the result.

Sunroof ? I Think Honda Blackbird Is On The Right Track.
Did The Dealer Mention Anything About Nissan TSB (Technical Service Bulletin NTB11-045), Dated 4/25/2011 ?
These Bulletins Help Dealer Technicians Find/Fix Problems.
This Particular Bulletin Is For 2007 - 2011 Altima Sedans, 2008 - 2011 Coupes, And 2009 - 2011 Maximas.

The bulletin addresses concerns with “ALTIMA AND MAXIMA; SUNROOF FRONT DRAIN HOSE IS KINKED, PINCHED, OR DISCONNECTED,” and discusses wet carpets and water leaking from the suroof/headliner, related to the drain hoses.

Only one page, it tells where to find the problem and how to fix it and includes a color photo of the culprit (kink or pinch in tubing in the lower dash area).

This may or may not be your problem, but is worth questioning. We just don’t know how competent the “leak guy” is.


Thank you all for your great suggestions and ideas.

The dealer said that the sunroof drains were not kinked. They did not mention the service bulletin, but that doesnt mean anything.

I think it is very odd that when I first get into my car in the morning the leak is not present, but only after I start to drive with windshield wipers does the leak start. Does that lend any more credence to the above ideas?

Thanks again!

Also, after reading the above I noticed that the leak seems to start at the exact angle of the windshield (where 2 different seals come together). Sorry I’m not being very technical. Thanks again.

When you turn on your wipers…I assume its raining AND you are driving…moving forward… Which would push all the water up and over your roof…thus bringing those sunroof drains into play… Methinks one of those tubes is disconnected at that level of your roof… Look into this…you can do it yourself actually.

Open The Roof. Find The Drain Hole In The Corner Of The Opening Nearest The Leak.
Slowly, Carefully, Begin Pouring A Little Water Into The Drain.
Keep Checking Headliner For Wetness And Drips Of Water Under The Car.

Wet Headliner = One Of The Problems In The Bulletin.
Dry Headliner & Water On Ground = The Problem Is Probably Something Else.

Sunroofs are not designed to seal out all water when closed. Therefore drains are built into the corners of the sunroof opening to drain away any water that gets by the closed roof. They must function properly or water will enter the passenger compartment, someplace.

Also, I’d pull up any mats on the floor nearest the leak and at the lowest point of the floor, press my hand into the carpet and feel for moisture. The floor should be bone dry.

I would think the leaking will leave a stained headliner. Have they metioned warranty covering its replacement ? Be careful, though. Few people can properly install a headliner, correctly. The cure could be worse than the stain problem. Trim shops are usually best at installing these.

Also, a leak of this nature can start causing problems with electrical wiring and connectors. There is a chance that you’ve even got wiring near the water stain. A dealer needs to figure this out soon.

Hey everyone- Thanks again for your input. I checked around on the floor and there were no wet spots, but this could have dried from a few days ago.

I did a couple of tests today. One was to hose my car at the junction of the windshield and body - right above and proximal to the location that is leaking. There was no leakage.

Then I hosed the sunroof for a good while. Water came out behind the left front tire. I’m not able to pour water directly into the drain because I have a wind guard on my sunroof (not sure of the technical name).

Then I took the car to the carwash. The leak did not appear.

Both times the leak has happened there has been a very hard constant rain through the night before.

It is supposed to rain again Monday night. I’m scheduled to drop the car back off at the dealer on Tuesday to have the expert look at it. I’m going to include the pictures I’ve taken and some of suggestions you’ve made (especially the service bulletin). I’ll post what happens here - especially Tuesday morning when I’m driving to work after a hard rain.

The pictures are where I concentrated the water.

Thanks again!

This windguard would be an add-on accessory item. How certain is it that the guard is not the cause of the problem?
Did the dealer install this or did you have it done yourself?

Any water leak should be a factory warrantable repair but any leak caused by an add-on would not be. If this guard was a dealer installed item then you run into a very murky area about who is going to be responsible for it.

Maybe the reason for the delay in a leak is because it’s very slow to accumulate. It could be that it’s taking a while for water to amass inside the roof of the car and saturate the headliner backing. At some point it’s fully saturated and starts dripping.
If this guard mounts with 3 clips that hook around the seal maybe that is the cause of the problem.

The guard came with the car so everything will be covered under warranty. I suppose the water could be pooling underneath the guard, but the little drain in the corner is working (you can see the stream from the side in the second picture). If it was a hard rain and there is lots of debris it could pool.
I’ll mention this to them as well when I take it back. Thank you

The wind deflector itself would come off in a minute or two, simply by opening the sunroof and loosening the two mount screws. They’re attached to two (or three) brackets that go in around the sunroof, and grip the body. Seriously, a #2 philips screwdriver and two minutes. Open the sunroof and look closely, you’ll see what I mean.

The wind guard may have come on the car when you bought it but it’s not a Nissan factory item so any problem with that guard, how it’s mounted, or any problems it causes is not covered by a factory warranty.

Any guarantee on a dealer add-on item is subject to strict limitations, bureaucratic wrestling, and a pure whim.

Here is a quick update: It has been raining since Sunday here. I’ve had no water leak. I checked under my sunroof guard before getting in the car in the morning and there was no pooling of water. There is some component of the equation to make my car leak missing. Maybe the sunroof drains get intermittently plugged? I’m not sure.

I am dropping it back off at the dealer tonight to let the leak expert take another look. Will keep you updated. Thanks again.

True Story: I Once Had An H2O Leak (Door) That Was Dependent On The Orientation Of The Car.
My Driveway Has A Slight Pitch And I Ordinarily Back In. That’s When It Leaked. It Didn’t Leak Nosed In Or Parked On Flat Ground.


" . . . I noticed water leaking down the left (for lack of knowledge), ‘windshield support.’ "

Those roof supports ( including “windshield support” ) are called pillars.
Instead of numbering them for reference, they are assigned letters (A,B,C, etcetera) starting at the front and working toward the rear. (Some vehicles have more than others.)

The ones at the windshield are “A” pillars . . . behind the front doors, “B” pillars, and so on . . .