How to Replace Sunroof Drainage

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How to Replace Sunroof Drainage
Sunroof drainage systems are relatively easy to replace. (sportscar car sports auto coupe speed fast image by alma_sacra from

The popularity of vehicle sunroofs has been steadily rising since 2002. And while sunroof drainage systems have improved over the years to keep pace with the trend, parts do wear over time and need replacing. Fortunately, drainage systems are similar between most brands, and can be replaced in a few straightforward steps at a reasonable cost.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Compressed air blower
  • Shop vacuum
  • 1/4-inch compression sleeves
  • 1/4-inch replacement plastic tubing, 8-feet
  • Utility knife
  • Four metal washers
  • Super glue
  • Silicone caulk

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  1. 1

    Open the sunroof and locate the four drain holes inside the channel, one in each of the four corners. Clear away any accumulated debris from the channel by scraping away hardened dirt and leaves with a screwdriver. Blow out the sunroof channel with compressed air.

  2. 2

    Blow a few shots of compressed air through each drain hole. Listen for the sound of air blowing through the internal drainage system. You can usually hear when a blockage is cleared when a sudden burst of air pops through the drainage spouts under the wheel wells in the front and rear of the vehicle. Also try vacuuming debris out of the drain holes with a powerful shop vac. If this does not clear the system, proceed to step 3.

  3. 3

    Insert the new 1/4-inch replacement plastic tubing into the drain hole and through the existing hose inside the vehicle. Continue sliding through the internal hose until the tubing stops sliding. Either it has hit a 90-degree angle or another connecting hose. Slide the tubing back out four inches and cut off any excess replacement tubing.

  4. 4

    Mount a 1/4-inch compression sleeve inside the tubing. A compression sleeve is a small metal tube with a rim on one end. Insert a washer between the replacement tubing and the small metal rim of the sleeve, and super glue the three pieces together. Let dry for 15 minutes.

  5. 5

    Slide the replacement tubing down inside the existing drain hose. Before the washer hits the drain hole, apply silicone caulking beneath the rim of the metal washer. The metal washer prevents the tube from sliding into the hose, while the caulking seals the tube in place. Repeat steps three to five for each drain hole.

Tips and warnings

  • Tape a length of 1/4-inch tubing to a shop vacuum nozzle to clean out stubborn debris inside the drain-system hoses before inserting the replacement tubing.

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