Water leaks may be the last thing on your mind at this point in California’s drought. However, the dry, hot weather makes proper sunroof seal maintenance all the more important.

Hot, dry weather can be hard on the rubber seal of your sunroof. Eventually, wear and tear can lead to a seal failure, and when it finally does rain again (or after your next wash) you may end up going for a swim in your car.

In this case, the entire carpet and all padding needed to be replaced along with electrical components damaged by the water intrusion.Your sunroof is not completely water tight. Instead, it is designed to allow small amounts of water into the sunroof cassette gutters so it can then flow out through the drains. However, if too much water comes into the gutters, this will create a flash flood condition which overwhelms the sunroof drain system, causing a leak into the cabin.

As you may guess, water damage repairs can get extremely expensive and lengthy. Not only does the upholstery get soaked—which can lead to mold growth—but many control units and other electrical components are located low in the cabin and may be damaged. Drying out the car, replacing electrical components, waiting for special order interior pieces, and coordinating with your insurance agent will all add to the time your car is out of commission. While insurance will likely cover much of the cost of the repair, they will not compensate you for the inconvenience of having your car in the shop for weeks at a time.

The simplest way to avoid the hassle and expense of water intrusion repairs is to keep up with maintenance of your sunroof seal and drains. This maintenance involves cleaning and lubricating the seal, as well as clearing debris like leaves and dirt out of the sunroof cassette and drain lines. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.