In the classic car world, originality is important. However, "vintage rubber" has no value - because as a vehicle ages, rubber dries up and deteriorates. This applies to pampered garage queens as well as daily drivers outside in the elements. Eventually, rubber seals shrink, crack, and warp to the point they no longer properly function.
Window seals are a perfect example. In this article, we'll look at the top five ways you'll benefit from replacing weatherstripping seals around your vehicle's glass, including windshield, side, rear, vent, and quarter windows. We'll also discuss the most common types of automotive weather seals, and replacements we offer.
While essential for life, water is an extremely pervasive liquid. During heavy rain or a carwash visit, water works its way into any gap or crack caused by warped, cracked, or crumbling weatherstrips. We say water is extremely pervasive because it expands when frozen. So during countless wintertime freeze-thaw cycles, water expansion behind compromised weather seals only pushes them further out of shape. Plus, corrosion can easily form out of sight behind compromised seals.
With electronic control modules placed behind dashboards and underneath seats, modern vehicles can be significantly crippled by water leaks when it comes to operation and drivability. At the first sign of water entry, it's vital to have a leak diagnosed. Ruling out water drainage clogs, faulty weatherstripping is usually the cause.
Ever notice how quiet any new car is at speed compared to an older vehicle? That's because all of the window and door seals are new and fresh -uncompromised by the ravages of time. Faulty weatherstripping cannot hold moveable windows in the exact alignment they were designed for. Water may not get through, but the whooshing sound of moving air does. And if you've got a noticeable whistle or related noise coming from window that's fixed in place, it needs to be addressed quickly before it becomes a water leak situation.
Rubber weatherstripping must be flexible in order to allow moving window glass to slide by it easily. As sunlight and acid rain take their toll, weatherstripping along the inside and outside of window frames dries up and hardens. It may even become sticky as the rubber deteriorates. Smooth, effortless movement of window glass is replaced by sluggish operation because the large amount of friction.
Increased drag caused by weatherstripping friction also has a life-shortening effect on power window motors. So if your windows seem sluggish, check the weatherstripping first. There's a good chance new strips will solve the problem.
Your Vehicle Is Being Repainted
Any time a vehicle is being repainted along areas where window seals are in place, it makes sense to replace the old ones. In most cases, used weatherstripping cannot be re-applied properly. Paintwork requires removal of old weatherstripping anyway, so the only extra cost in this case is parts.
If accident damage repair is being paid by insurance, they will likely cover new weatherstripping. By law, you have rights when it comes to choosing parts (so you can even direct your bodyshop to CARiD!) And even if new weatherstripping is not covered by insurance, the labor to remove and install it will be.
Show Car Restoration
The whole point of restoring a car or truck is to make it like new again. Properly done, that level of commitment requires thorough nuts-and-bolts detailing, down to the last item. Old weatherstripping looks just like what it is - old weatherstripping. If you skip replacing those terrible-looking door and window seals, all you're doing is a repaint - not a restoration.
Below are the types of window seals that typically need replacement for any of the above reasons:
Door Window Seals
Mounted on outer door edges, these provide a seal against moveable windows. We've got them from SoffSeal, Goodmark, and Crown (choose older or newer Jeep models).
Pillar Post / a.k.a. "Hinge Pillar" seals
More common on convertibles, these mount on A-pillar interiors to create a seal where pillarless door glass makes contact. We've got pillar post seals from SoffSeal, OPGI, Metro Moulded, and URO Parts.
Quarter Glass seals
These wrap around rear side windows, and may or may not be fixed in place. We've got quarter glass seals from OPGI, Goodmark, and URO Parts.
Rear Window seals
We've got rear window glass seals from SoffSeal, OPGI, and URO Parts.
Vent Window seals
These seals are positioned between a vent window and the door frame itself. Depending on vehicle application, these may attach to the glass or to the doorframe. We've got vent window seals from Goodmark, SoffSeal, and URO Parts.
These create a seal between the door panels and a movable glass window. The term derives from the soft felt that lines contact areas. While window felts are most used on inside edges, some vehicles also use them on the outside of the window (similar to door window seals). We've got window felts from SoffSeal, OPGI, and Auto Metal Direct.
These seals are upper window frame which is part of the door. We've got window run seals from SoffSeal and Omix-Ada (driver and passenger sides).
These are seals for fixed windshield glass, typically for older cars, as newer cars have windshields which are glued in place. We've got windshield seals from SoffSeal, URO Parts, and Crown. If you've got a Jeep CJ7 or CJ5/6 with a fold-down windshield, we've got additional Crown weatherstripping pieces you'll need for the cowl area.
With the quality and variety of window and glass seals available, there's no excuse for delaying the replacement of a bad seal. Things will be drier and quieter; your newly-painted or -restored vehicle will look its best. New window weatherstripping "seals" the deal!