Car Doctor Q&A: It’s Raining Inside my Ford Escape

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Aside from an electrical problem, a leak inside your car might be the most annoying thing you can experience. John Paul helps diagnose a leaking Ford Escape this week.

Q. When it rains heavily, the floorboard on the driver’s side of my 2008 Ford Escape turns into a puddle of water. I have a sunroof, but I don’t see any rain coming in from there. However, I do see some staining just at the very edge of the cloth sun-shield. At times it seems as if I can hear water sloshing around. What do I need to do to fix it? My mechanic looked at it and cleaned out the “drains” in the windows, but thinks it might be the sunroof. What is going on?

A. When it rains every vehicle has several drains that allow water to flow in and out of the vehicle. As an example water flows into the doors around the windows and exists at the bottom. In nearly every vehicle the sunroof has a drain. In your vehicle it has four drains, two on the front and two toward the rear. These drains can be cleaned with low pressure air to blow out any accumulated debris. Since you are hearing water sloshing the heater/air conditioner plenum (air-box) could be collecting water and allowing it to drain onto the floor.

You could try a little investigation on your own. Take a water hose and set the nozzle to a light spray and let the water run on the door and the bottom edge of the window glass. The next day start at the top of the door and do the same thing. Finally spray the area around the sunroof. Doing this in sections can help you isolate the leak. I have seen some Ford Escapes that the metal edge of the sunroof can actually rust though, so a careful inspection of the sunroof panel may be necessary. There’s a good tutorial on cleaning sunroof drains at this YouTube video:

Short of this there are specialists that find and repair wind and water leaks. Your local shop or Ford dealer may use one of these specialists.