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Leaky sun/moonroof

After three repairs of a leaky sunroof that produces a puddle of water on my floorboard and a wet headliner I was told by the dealership and the toyota consumer complaint department that the leak was due to debris in the overflow tube. Their solution for me "don’t park your RAV 4 under trees. They tell me it isn’t a warranty issue or a design flaw. How can that not be a flaw? Shouldn’t they sell them with a disclaimer stating if you live in the country and don’t park in a garage your sunroof just might leak? Wait for it…don’t drive your car outside if it is going to rain!!!

Traditional sunroof design includes drain tubes incorporated into the A-pillars. If they get plugged up the water has nowhere to drain and finds its way through the neoprene seals. Try finding some long flexible things to clean the drain tubes out. Pipecleaners from a craft store, or perhaps those long plastic drain cleaner things should work.

Long term, you may want to buy a car cover.

What year is your RAV4 and how many miles are on it?

Some thin wire can also work if you feed it down and push/flush all the debris out. Once you clear em out I would flush warm water down once a week or so just to be sure you don’t get a build up. That’s what I do for my own peace of mind.

After years of owning vehicles with sunroofs and moonroofs…they all leak after time has passed. Some a little…some a lot.

I have read weed-eater string works well .

I had an old Toyota Tercel that started leaking from the sun roof. After many attempted repairs to keep it from leaking I finally got some clear silicon caulk and caulked the seal from the outside. It no longer functioned as a sunroof but it never leaked again.

My 2005 Accord’s sunroof hasn’t leaked. It spends 12 hours a day in the garage (at least) and I usually don’t park under trees when I’m not at home. The roof is never open when I park, either.

Missileman, that isn’t true of the Scion design. It doesn’t use drain tubes in the A-pillars. It uses a plain sheet of glass that sits on a double neoprene sealing system and runs water off into open gutters that drain down the outside of the A-pillars and down the sides of the hatch. There’s nothing to clog. It’s the first intelligent system I’ve seen.

I’ve always wondered what the percentage of people who care to do the proper maintenance on sunroofs/moonroofs (reagreasing the track etc)… Me thinks it isn’t very high.

I had a motorized sunroof on a 03 Passat. Never used it, totally worthless feature. Never leaked, but had noise problems, which was solved by lubrication of the tracks and mechanism.

If leaves fall into that area below your windshield, the debris can get sucked into the heater blower fan, ruining the blower motor; I don’t think the manufacturer would replace that under warranty either. Keeping up the routine maintenance is about the best you can do for problems like this.

Or look at it this in an alternative, more optimistic, way. Some cars used to – maybe still do – they had the little door which covered the re-fueling port on the top surface of the fender. Corvettes I think had that as a sort of design feature. But if it wasn’t 100% water tight, rain water would get through that door and go into the gas tank. And stall the engine outright. True, you have a damp passenger compartment, but on the bright side, the engine still works!

If cleaning the sunroof drip trough regularly is too much trouble close the sunroof when parked.

mountainbike…glad to hear that Scion has put some thought into the sunroof/moonroof design. Most leak and I’ve never owned a Scion before.

RAV 4 is a 2015 with 22,000 miles. Thanks for the cleaning advise. Question is why are they sold without a disclaimer saying they can leak. I had a Camry for 7 years, parked it in the same place and the sunroof never leaked. I didn’t know that I had maintenance to do to keep it cleaned out.

Question is why are they sold without a disclaimer saying they can leak.

I think you meant to say they can leak if the drainage channel is not kept open. Most any surface on the car could spring a leak if the seal or drainage system failed. Just like the roof on a house can spring a leak if the rain gutters aren’t kept clean of debris.

An argument could be made I guess that Toyota should include an advisement for periodic cleaning of the sunroof drainage channel in the owners manual. I presume they didn’t b/c the owners manual on newer cars is already pretty thick, and the thicker it is, the less likely the owners will read it at all. Instead they likely expect that channel will be inspected and cleaned as required as part of periodic, routine maintenance, by an experienced shop mechanic, like during scheduled oil changes. It’s a compromise.

“I guess that Toyota should include an advisement for periodic cleaning of the sunroof drainage channel in the owners manual. I presume they didn’t b/c the owners manual on newer cars is already pretty thick, and the thicker it is, the less likely the owners will read it at all” If they did do that then all the blame would be on the owner for not going through the manual and Toyota won’t be held accountable. But all car manufacturers don’t include any maintenance on these sunroofs/moonroofs. So there will always be this headache on the owners part when situations such as @Notrees

I always though the “moat” design with the A-pillar drain channel was the only way to go about a moonroof/sunroof until I bought my Scion and took a good look at the design. Since that time, I’ve wondered why the moat design is still used in so many OEM designs.

It’s a legacy from many decades ago when car manufacturers didn’t offer sun/moonroofs, and if you wanted one you bought an aftermarket unit and had it installed. Then car companies started offering sun/moonroofs, but they were “dealer installed” units based on the aftermarket designs. Since Scion came out with the better design in 2004, Lincoln has also started using it, but it seems so logical to me. Of course MOST things seem logical once you see them! Evolution is funny that way.

If the manufacturer doesn’t get many complaints, they won’t change the design. I have a sunroof on my Accord EX V6. It was standard equipment. I would not have paid extra for it, and I don’t use it often. Maybe there are a lot of other people that don’t use their sunroof much if at all. It can’t clog it it isn’t open.

You essentially said the same thing that I would have said!
I really didn’t want a sunroof on my current vehicle, but it was part of the options package that I wanted, so–voila–I have a sunroof that is used very rarely.

But, to return to the topic at hand, the only time that I ever had a leak from a sunroof was back in the days when I had to park on the street, under trees. Several of my subsequent cars had a sunroof–even though I didn’t want one–but they never leaked, most likely because those cars were always garage-kept.

And, as to the cause of that one leaky sunroof, it was indeed the result of tree debris clogging the drain lines. No, I didn’t hold the car manufacturer responsible for what Mother Nature had “provided”.