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Tweaking car windows to prevent rainwater leaks

I had a Geo Metro, and when it rained hard I had puddles of water in the back seat floorboards. I asked a mechanic about it and was told I’d need new weather stripping. When I got some money I took the car to the garage to have it measured for the weather stripping, but 2 mechanics “tweaked” the doors at no charge and told me that should take care of the problem.

It did for about 6 months when it started to again get water puddles after rain. I took my car to another mechanic for some other work, and asked him if he knew how you “tweaked” doors. When I came back for the car he told me he’d “tweaked” my doors the way he was told to do it on new cars when he worked for Saturn.

He told me the the window glass gets slightly out of line and there’s a gap between the glass and weather stripping. He said you roll down the window (he didn’t say how far but I’m assuming about half way) put your knee against the door and carefully pull the window outward just a little. He said not to use much force, because if you’re not gentle you could break the glass.

I now have a 1998 Prizm and it just started getting a wet spot on the passenger side carpeting when it rains hard. I would like to try “tweaking” the window, but I’m leary of messing things up. Does anyone know about the “door tweaking” technique? Do I have the proper instructions?

Please give advice to a financially challenged lady who knows how to follow instructions if she is sure of them.

I think you’ve got your instructions: roll down window -> pull.

That’s kind of a chintzy way of doing it, but what you’re -theoretically- doing is bending the window track and regulator (the raise/lower “guts” in the door) outward so that the glass fits more snugly against the weatherstripping (that is worn out and has collapsed.)

Just for giggles, you might check the coolant level in your car. Often times a wet spot on your passenger floor (that isn’t caused by frightened passengers) can be caused by a leaking heater core.

DO NOT attempt this. It’s a Mickey Mouse (sorry, Walt) solution to the problem, and your knee is likely to dent the door. There is a correct way to adjust the windows (if they are adjustable), and a service manual for your vehicle will tell you the proper way to do it. The weather strip at the bottom of the window will never be “water tight.” SOME water will always get into the door. That’s why there are drain holes in the bottom of each door on your Prizm. Open the doors and look if you don’t believe me.

If the door drains are clear and functioning, I’ll bet the water on the floor is coming from somewhere other than the side windows.

with all due respect to MC, i had exactly this same problem, of an old pickup truck and fixed it the same way as described by the place you took it to.

i would get out of the truck and close the door by grabbing the door and slamming it shut. also when opening it i would grab the door by the upper part of the window frame and give it a tug to open it.

eventually these repetitive door pulls, slams and whacks deformed the doors so they leaked.

i did exactly what you describe and “re formed” the doors to close completely and weather tight. the only difference i did, was to completely roll the window down so it was NOT in the upper part of the track.

i dont mean to be critical here, but… by any chance does a regular user of the car have a habit of grabbing the window frames and either lifting out of the car, or lowering into the car while hanging onto the window frames? that sounds like what is contributing to this problem.

Tweaking the DOOR is a bit different from tweaking the window. Leaking door gaskets is one thing; leaking window gaskets is another. The OP talked about leaking WINDOWS, not leaking doors.

I still say window leaks should be taken care of by the door drains. Leaning door gaskets is another matter entirely.

Slamming doors is never a good idea. My father insists on slamming the doors on his (and my) car. It’s annoying as hell. There is no reason to slam the door on a modern car. The force with which you close the door has no relation to the security of its closure.

A question first. Is this leak occurring between the door frame and car body or between the glass in the door and the weatherstrips that are inside the door frame?

Glass is usually adjustable when the inner door panel is removed and the entire door adjustment can be changed by the door hinges and striker pin. The latter is what the latch clamps down on.

Dear Cappy 208, The only other person who rides in my car besides me is my elderly mother, who gets a ride to church and then the grocery store every week. She can bearly get in and out of my car, and its impossible for her to get up into the trucks and SUVs her other relatives drive. I haven’t observed just where she grabs hold of my car for support but she probably uses the open drive to help her get in and out. Above every door except the driver door is a plastic “hand hold”. I asked her if that would help her get in and out, but she has trouble raising her arm above her head.
So since the subject has been brought up, Mom may likely be getting my door out of alignment by “abusing” it. If that’s the case I can’t very well ban her from riding with me and tell her no more church or groceries.

as OK asked, have you noticed where the water is leaking in through?

if the water is leaking though between the window frame and the door opening, then the “tweaking” of the door frame is what is needed. (although new rubber seals MAY help)

if the water is leaking in around the window itself, then the window guide tracks may need new seals.

honestly, if the windows are leaking, then you need to make sure the door drain holes are clear, and live with it.

BUT, if the leak is coming in through the door to door frame seal, then the tweaking you have had should (but may need occasional “readjusting”) be sufficient.

on a related note, you should ensure your trunk gutter system is free of debris, to make sure that is not backing up in to the inside of the car too. (while youre at it, make sure the hood gutter system is clear too.)

to make sure you understand what i am referring to here, when you open up the trunk, the rim which runs around the trunk, is usually cluttered with leaves, pine needles, and gunk. all that stuff needs to be removed that way the rainwater runs out

how about this question? have you ever used string, or rope to tie something to the roof of your car? (through the window openings?) then slammed the doors shut on the string? that could cause the deforming of the doors also.

also, you mention the passenger side. the front or back?

huge difference

if this is in the front passenger side, it is most likely a clogged AC drain. (or worse a leaking heater core) BUT, what does the water smell like? is it in the front? do you have a smudgy (sic) film on the front windshield when you use the defroster? more info needed.

Dear Cappy208, The water is on the front passenger side, in the corner by the door and the seat. The water has been appeared about 3 times, always after a hard rain. (I’ve only had the car since August of 2007 so don’t have a real long history with the Prizm)
I don’t have a film on the windshield, the defroster clears off the windshield well. Because of an accident I completely lost my sense of smell, and the only other person who regularly rides in the car is my Mom, who has limited ability to smell.
I get some old towels and soak up the water, and it seems feel just like water. No greasy feeling when I wring out my towels

What I’m about to tell you will sound gross but this is how I tell if its water or antifreeze in the floorboard. Take your finger dip it in the water then take a small taste of it. If it taste sweet then it’s antifreeze if not then it’s water. I must also tell you that antifreeze is posions if you take enough of it so don’t overdue this.

I’ve done this several times and have had no ill effects from it. So try this at your on risk!

in all likely hood you have a clogged air conditioner drain. take the car to a mechanic and ask them to clean out the AC condenser drain hose.

you also may have a clogged (with debris) air intake which the mechanic could check too. changing the cabin air filter would be appropriate too.

sorry to get so long with the replies, but it was confusing reading the original post, with the reference to the back windows of the first geo, then the references to the prizm. it took a while to get the details, but your windows aren’t leaking in the new car, it is coming from elsewhere. (of course i could be full of bull) but that’s as close as i can get with your description.


Not to be disrespectful but as stated earlier I’ve done this simple taste test for many years and I’m still a live. I’m not asking for the OP to drink the fluid just take a small taste on the tip of a finger. If sweet then you can alwas spit it out.

That maybe why my last child had two heads tho… hmmmmm

Better not take any liquid cold medicines, read the ingredients.

The window regulators on the older (89 -94?) Geo Metros wear with time – this is two lubricated tracks that guide the parallelogram that keeps the window level as it rolls up. On the front door, the glass is to be firmly seated in the track at the rear of the window as it rolls up, and to do this the parallelogram must be canted backward. This eventually gets sloppy, and the two mounting screws are fixed into vertical slots in the inner door sheet metal to adjust for this wear. Lower the rear screw and raise the front one.

I ran out of adjustment on my car (93 Metro), so I drilled a new hole just below the rear slot to put the screw through, and now the glass rides up without jumping the track. While you have the interior door panel off, lube the parallelogram tracks and spray the glass tracks with silicone lubricant (NOT regular grease, which on the rubber turns into a glue) to make rolling the window up easier.

I did not find any wear or disintegration of any of the window track channel rubber; of course your situation may be different.