CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

New Car Wet After Rain

I have a 2014 Toyota Corolla which I’ve been leasing for the past 7 months. It only has 3,500 miles. Today it was raining hard and after driving about 20 miles in the morning and 15 in the evening I noticed that the front passenger side carpet was soaking wet. I pushed on it and it was squishy with water. I checked the rest of the car and the back passenger side was also wet, not as wet though. I did not drive through deep puddles or ever hit anything with this car. The windows were not open and the mats were only wet on the bottom. Anyone ever experience this in a new car? What could be causing this and what should I do? Does lemon law cover this?

In most states, the Lemon Law only covers a problem that “materially affects the safety or drivability of the vehicle”. While I empathize with you about this problem, it might be a bit of a stretch to claim that leaking rain water constitutes either a safety hazard or a drivability problem.

In any event, it is typical that 3 failed repair attempts must have taken place before you can successfully invoke the Lemon Law. Why don’t you at least give the dealership ONE repair attempt before you begin thinking of legal claims?

You want to take it back to the dealer and have them investigate it, but you need to get that carpet dried out pronto before mold can set in. It needs to be vacuumed and dried and the pad underneath. You don’t want to get hit with the cost of replacing moldy carpet and pad when you turn it in.

As far as the leak goes, two main areas are the drains for the sunroof if you have one and the drain for the vent area in front of the windshield. They’ll just need to blow the drains out and make sure they aren’t plugged. They need to check the fit of the doors and the weather stripping to make sure that is tight and in place though. If it wasn’t the sun roof, the fact that there was water in the back too, indicates a more serious issue. Its a warranty issue though unless the drains are just plugged but let them look at it.

You have a three years or more with mileage, bumper to bumper warranty on your car. I would use it. Your car should not be leaking unless you left a window open or the door ajar for a while…,and it doesn’t take mulch. These things are made by robots and are pretty consistent. If they leak, they is something wrong and the dealer should be happy to fix anything under warranty…he gets paid by the manufacturer to do it. It’s just like he would charge you of it weren’t covered. “He who hesitates is lost” I would go before it has a chance to dry out.

Take it back to the dealer or wherever you leased it from and describe the problem. It is their car, not yours. Once you tell them about the problem, it is no longer your problem. They may provide a different car, or just let it go. If they choose not to fix it and the leak continues, remind them of it occasionally. Get a receipt every time you go back. Do this, and they can’t charge you for damaging their vehicle.

I put a bucket of Damp Rid in my son’s car after removing the floor mats and soaking up as much water as I could. Shut the windows and it will such the moisture right up top. You need to get it dry or mold will grow. Take it to the dealer and have them look at it. Make sure it is documented so they don’t blame you.
//www.homedepot.com/c/BP_DampRid

Lemon laws for leased cars?? No, you take it back and they either fix it or give you a different car. Don’t wait. You’re responsible to mitigate damages. If you wait, it may start getting moldy and then you could be on the hook for not acting in a timely fashion to limit damages…

Its under warranty. Take it to the dealer. They will provide a rental.

If the dealer will fix it, of course that’s the first thing to do. Probably the first thing I’d do prior to taking it to the dealer if I had this problem is do a visual check of the two passenger side doors, checking the underside of each. The window seal is never waterproof. Rain will always get into the door. So the door is designed to let that water drain out at the bottom. If the drain isn’t working, the water has no where to go but inside the car. Do you hear any slooshing sounds when you open and close the doors? Are the door drain holes obstructed?

Take it to your local Toyota dealer the car is still under warranty. Lemon law in most states requires 3 failed repair attempts for the same concern.

I agree about giving the dealer a chance, but you might want to take it to a body shop to see if it has ever been in an accident.

It’s a lease. Shouldn’t have been wrecked. Dealer has to fix it. Keep records. Take pics. Document all calls and visits. You don’t want them charging you.

Shouldn’t have been wrecked, doesn’t mean it wasn’t. Happens all the time during delivery and test drives.