How to Properly Seal a Sunroof to Prevent Leaks in an Acura MDX?

March 22, 2024

Sunroof leaks are a common issue reported by car owners, especially those with specific car models like the Acura MDX or certain Toyota models. It is frustrating to discover a water stain marking the ceiling of your car, or even worse, finding a pool of water on the floor after a heavy rain. These leaks can lead to additional problems, such as mold growth or deterioration of the car’s interior. Yet, most of these issues can be prevented with some basic maintenance and understanding of how your car’s sunroof works. This article is designed to provide a comprehensive guide on how to properly seal a sunroof to prevent leaks in an Acura MDX.

Identifying the Problem

Before you can address the problem of a leaky sunroof, you need to confirm that the water is indeed coming from the sunroof. Sometimes, water on the floor or dampness in your car might be due to other problems such as a blocked air conditioner drain or door seals.

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Your sunroof is designed to keep out most water, but not all. A small amount of water can enter into the sunroof’s drainage system. This system includes four drains, one at each corner of the sunroof, that lead the water down the pillars of your car and safely out underneath. If these drains get blocked, water can overflow and end up inside your car.

To check if the leaks are coming from the sunroof, open the sunroof and pour a small amount of water into the drain holes. If the water doesn’t drain out, you have a blockage. If it drains out onto the floor of your car, you likely have a disconnected drain tube. Either scenario can be easily answered with some DIY maintenance.

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Clearing the Drain Tubes

The next step in preventing leaks from your sunroof is to ensure the drainage system is working correctly. A common cause of sunroof leaks is blocked drain tubes. These tubes can become clogged with debris over the years, preventing water from draining correctly and causing it to leak inside your car.

To clear the drain tubes, you will need a long flexible wire or cable, similar to a speedometer cable. With the sunroof open, carefully feed the cable into the drain hole and push it down until you feel resistance. Then, gently move the cable back and forth to break up any debris. After doing this, try pouring water into the drain again to see if it’s cleared.

If the water still doesn’t drain correctly, you might have a disconnected drain tube. This is a more complex problem that requires removing panels to access and reconnect the tube, which might require the help of a professional.

Sealing the Sunroof

Once you’ve made sure the drain tubes are clear and functioning correctly, it’s time to focus on the sunroof seal. This seal can degrade over time, allowing water to seep into your car.

To replace the seal, first, open the sunroof completely. Then, remove the old seal and clean the area thoroughly to ensure a good bond for the new seal. Apply a thin layer of silicone sealant around the edge of the sunroof.

Next, carefully place the new seal onto the silicone, pressing it firmly into place. Close the sunroof and leave it closed for at least 24 hours to allow the silicone to cure properly.

Regular Maintenance

Prevention is often the best cure, and this is especially true when it comes to preventing leaks from your sunroof. Regular maintenance can go a long way in preventing leaks and extending the life of your sunroof.

Make it a habit to check the sunroof seals and drains at least twice a year. At the start of spring, when rains are more frequent, and in fall, to prepare for winter, are good times to do these checks.

Clean the sunroof seals with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or debris that could cause the seal to degrade. Pour a small amount of water into the drain holes to check for any blockages and clear them if necessary.

When to Seek Professional Help

While many sunroof leaks can be fixed with some DIY maintenance, there might be times when it’s best to seek professional help. If you’ve cleared the drains, replaced the seal, and you’re still experiencing leaks, it’s time to consult a professional.

A professional can perform a more thorough inspection to identify the source of the leak. They can also check other areas of your car that could be contributing to the problem, such as the door seals or air conditioner drains.

Remember, ignoring a leak can lead to more serious problems down the line, like mould growth and damage to your car’s interior. Therefore, it’s crucial to address any leaks as soon as possible.

Repairing a Disconnected Drain Tube

A disconnected drain tube is a more complex issue that you may need professional help to deal with. However, if you’re up for a challenge, you can try to diagnose and repair it yourself. When a drain tube gets disconnected, water coming in from the sunroof does not get drained to the outside, rather it ends up on the floor of your car, typically on the driver side or passenger side.

To identify this problem, you need to remove the interior panels of your Acura MDX. Start by removing the sun visors, then the A-pillar covers, and finally, the headliner. At this point, you should be able to see the sunroof drain tubes running down the pillars. Look for any signs of disconnection or breakage.

If you find a disconnected tube, use a plastic zip tie or a small hose clamp to reconnect it to the sunroof drain. Ensure it’s secure and will not easily come apart. Once completed, do a water test to confirm if the drain tube is working properly. Also, remember to replace all the interior panels correctly after the repair.

If you’re not comfortable doing this on your own, it’s best to seek professional help. A professional maintenance repair service can carry out this task efficiently without causing additional damage to your car’s interior.


In conclusion, sunroof leaks in your Acura MDX can be frustrating and potentially damaging to your car’s interior. However, with the right approach, you can prevent and fix these leaks yourself.

By identifying the source of the leak and making sure the sunroof drain tubes are clear, you can prevent water from pooling inside your vehicle. If the problem persists, replacing the sunroof seal can be a useful step.

However, not all problems can be tackled with a DIY approach. If you’re dealing with a disconnected drain tube or if the leaks persist despite your efforts, it’s best to seek professional help. Remember, regular maintenance is key in preventing leaks and ensuring the longevity of your sunroof.

Whether it’s an Acura MDX or a Toyota Highlander, all cars require attention and care for optimal performance. And, as the saying goes, "prevention is better than cure". So, make it a point to regularly inspect your vehicle for any issues and address them promptly. Happy and safe driving!