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Weatherstripping at 1A Auto
What is automotive weatherstripping and where is it located?
Automotive weatherstripping, also commonly referred to as weatherstrips, weather seals, or just seals, plays a major role in sealing the inside of your vehicle and keeping it protected from all of the various outside elements like rain, snow, dirt, wind and other debris. Weatherstrips are made of a rubber material and seal along all of the edges of your car or truck’s doors, windows, windshield, trunk, hood, etc., so that nothing can enter the vehicle or get out through the gaps. They are most commonly held into place using one or a combination of these items, depending on the application: weatherstrip adhesive, clips, glue, screws, and pressure.
There are many different types of weather seals available for automobiles these days and that’s because over the past 100 years all kinds of makes and models have rolled off of the assembly lines. The type and location of weatherstripping on a vehicle is dependent on the particular make and model. Generally speaking, a car or truck will at the very least have door, window, windshield, roof, trunk / rear hatch / tailgate and some type of body weatherstripping. To learn more, here is an in-depth guide that provides details on most of the different types of weatherstripping you will find on cars and trucks these days.
When are replacement weatherstrips needed?
Replacing worn weatherstrips is crucial for everything from giving your classic car or truck that like new appearance, to keeping the interior of your daily driver dry. If your vehicle is suffering from excessive wind noise, rain leakage, or an abundance of outside elements finding their way into it, then replacement automotive weatherstripping is needed as soon as possible. You certainly do not want to be driving around during a rainstorm and have water dripping on your head.
How do I know what weatherstrips I need?
Weatherstrips vary from vehicle to vehicle. Weatherstripping on older cars can be a bit more complicated than newer cars. Below is a list of common weatherstrip terminology and where they fit.
Door Seals: There are 2 basic types of door seals: sedan or coupe door seals, and hardtop or
convertible seals. Sedan door seals usually attach to the door, or sometimes the door opening,
following along the whole perimeter of the door. If your car is a sedan, it will have a metal frame all
the way around the side window glass. Unlike a sedan, hardtop and convertible cars do not have a
metal frame going all the way around the side glass. Hardtop and convertible door seals attach to the
doors and run along the sides and bottom edges of the door.
roofrail seals run up the windshield pillar, along the roofline all the way down to the bottom side of
the front or quarter side window. These weatherstrips seal the top of the side windows when they are
rolled all the way up. Convertible roofrail seals are also called convertible top seals. Convertible top
roofrail seals usually come in multiple pieces and attach to the sides of the convertible top frame.
These weatherstrips seal the top of the side windows when they are rolled all the way up.
Windshield Seals: The windshield weatherstrip is the rubber seal that surrounds the entire windshield
glass in its entirety. Some vehicles have windshields that are glued to the car with the windshield
weatherstrip laid on top of it, while other vehicles need the windshield weatherstripping installed at the
same time as the windshield itself, which means it cannot be installed after the fact.
found on some pre-1958 cars, almost all convertible models and some Corvettes. The windshield
pillar seals attach to the windshield pillar and seal either the vent window glass frame, or front of the
side glass to the windshield pillar.
Header Seals: Windshield or convertible top header seals are only found on convertible cars, or targa
top Corvette coupes. The windshield header seal usually attaches to the front edge of the convertible
top frame and seals the front of the convertible top to the top of the windshield frame.
Window Sweeps: Window sweeps are also often called window felts, window seals, window whiskers, or
belt seals. Window sweeps attach on the outside to the top of the door and/or quarter panel, and on
the inside to the top edge of the interior door panel. The window sweeps "sweep" against the glass
when the windows are rolled up or down, and help prevent water and debris from getting into the door
and or quarter panel.
Window Channel Seals: Window channel seals, also referred to as window run channel seals, attach to
the insides of the door window frame. The door glass then rolls up into them.
Hood to Cowl Seals: The hood to cowl seal attaches to the top of the firewall cowl, and seals the back
edge of the hood to the cowl when closed.
Trunk Seals and Rear Hatch Seals: Trunk seals attach to the body of the car and seal the trunk lid to
the body. On a hatchback car the rear hatch seal also usually attaches to the body of the car and
seals the rear hatch when closed.
Can I replace the weatherstripping myself?
Weatherstripping can be replaced by the novice do-it-yourselfer. Before you start, be sure to line up the weatherstripping to the dimensions of your current strip to make sure it's going to fit. Some weatherstrips may use screws, but most of the time they can be pried off by hand. It's a good idea to replace one side at a time. Most weatherstrips are replaced in pairs. Replacing one weatherstrip at a time allows you to check how the original was attached, which provides a valuable reference. If your weather seals use adhesive to attach, take the time to ensure all of the old adhesive has been removed. Then wipe down the weather channel and new weatherstrips. For reinstallation, be sure to apply a fresh coat of adhesive to the weather channel. Gently push the weatherstrip into place, make sure it's aligned properly, and then apply firm pressure to it. If you removed any screws, insert them back into place. Give time to let the adhesive dry, and once finished, you should be free from any outside nuisance once again.