When we think about car maintenance, we often focus on the engine, the bodywork and areas like the tyres. We rarely consider the rubber seals. Once these begin to degrade, however, they can cause major issues.
If the seals are not replaced problems such as water damage can get into vital parts of the car.
It’s often an issue with older and classic cars as you might expect. Over time the rubber becomes brittle which means areas like windows and doors don’t function properly.
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Where are Rubber Seals Used in Your Car?
You may well know that you have rubber seals on the windows and roof. These are malleable and designed to give an airtight seal that stops water getting in. Smaller seals are also used in various parts of the engine to ensure you don’t get any leaks between different parts.
One of the first things you may notice if your car rubber seals are compromised is that you are getting leaks when it rains or you pop to the car wash. This is something that you should not ignore. Water gets into the seals and if it freezes during winter it can expand and worsen the damage. Water dripping onto areas where there are electrics can also quite dangerous, even if you are not in the car at the time.
Another problem you might begin to see when driving along is that the wind from the outside seems a lot louder. This is normally a sign that the window seals are not providing the protection that you would expect.
Any noticeable whistling sound or even a rush of air should tell you that it’s time to check out those seals and replace them.
If the rubber seal becomes damaged it can also affect the operation of your side windows. That means they may go up and down sluggishly or even get stuck. With power windows, this can also have an impact on the operating mechanism which may eventually lead to a breakdown and a greater repair cost.
When to Replace Rubber Seals
If you are repairing a classic car, it’s often a good idea to replace the rubber seals, especially if you are having the vehicle resprayed, even if there doesn’t seem to be a problem at first inspection.
In most cases, with older and even some newer cars, we don’t notice there is a problem until something goes wrong – either a water leak or a window not working properly.
You may be surprised at how many places your car has rubber seals. They are found not just around the windows but the pillar posts. They are different designs from hinge windows to quarter glass seals.
The best time to check the rubber seals when you have an older car is when you take it in for a service or MOT. Your mechanic will be able to give each seal a close inspection and make any necessary replacements.
Window and other rubber seals are not that difficult to change and put in but you do need the right tools so it’s worth getting a professional to do it for you. While they are not the most important part of your car, it’s sensible to put at least some time aside to check those seals once a year.