Replacing a Seal on a Car Window

by Brandon M. Dennis

When the seal of your car window is cracked or damaged, you can replace it easily at home. Doing so will save you money by helping you avoid a mechanic -- and protect against water damage to your car. Even if the cracks aren't big enough to let water seep through, the wind noise while driving can get annoying.

Items you will need

  • Replacement seals 

  • Window seal adhesive, if your new seals didn't come with it  

  • Cutting tool -- such as a box cutter

  • Adhesive remover, if there's still some holding your old seals on

  • Appropriate screwdriver for the screws holding in the seals

  • Pliers

Finding the Correct Replacement Seals

Inner and outer seals are sized to fit your windows correctly. Your local automotive store should have a range of window seals to fit most common vehicles. If your car is an uncommon model, you may need to search online for a place that sells it and have it shipped to you.

Tip

  • Buy generic or universal window seals, which are generally not as good as original equipment parts but are cheaper and will work fine for an older car.

Removing The Old Seal

Roll the window down as far as it will go and remove any screws holding the seal in place.

Carefully start to cut the seal as close as you can get to the rim without scratching it.

After you have made a few cuts, the seal should become loose enough so that you can get a hold of it with the pliers and pull it up and out of the door.

After you have pulled out the big parts of the seal, check around the door for any remaining pieces and try to cut them out. Remove any screws that are still holding the seal in place.

Clean any dirt and debris that may have been hiding under the old seal, and use the adhesive remover to remove any remaining adhesive residue.

Replacing the Seal

Now that the old seal is gone and the window rims have been cleaned, you can install a new one.

Apply a small amount of window-seal adhesive around the rim of the door and the bottom side of the new seals, then wait about five minutes for it to start to set.

Starting with the outer seal, put it in place gently and then work it in until it's in the correct position.

Tip

  • Don't wait too long before moving on to the inner seal, which you will place in the same manner as the outer, because the adhesive will set fairly quickly.

Make sure they're both in position and then leave the window down until it dries, which shouldn't take long.

Replace the screws if there were any holding the original seal on.

Go for a test drive and, hopefully, enjoy the peace and quiet without any wind blowing in your ear. If the seals still aren't forming properly, you will need to pinpoint the exact source of the leak by listening to the air rushing in, or spray a fine mist of water at your windows to see where the water is seeping in.

About the Author

Brandon Dennis holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the College of Central Florida with a minor in journalism. Since then, he has enjoyed working in the automotive aftermarket and has done so for the past six years. He is also currently seeking an ASE Certified Technician Certificate.