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What is automotive weatherstripping and where is it located?

Automotive weatherstripping, also known as weatherstrips, weather seals, or just seals, seals the inside of your vehicle and protects it from many outside elements, like rain, snow, dirt, wind, and other debris. They are made of a rubber material and usually spread along the edges of your vehicle’s doors, windows, windshield, trunk, hood, and body to close any gaps. They can be held in place by weatherstrip adhesive, clips, glue, screws, and pressure.

There are many kinds of weatherstripping, and that’s because all kinds of makes and models have rolled off the assembly lines over time. Usually, a car or truck will have door, window, windshield, roof, trunk/rear hatch/tailgate, and some type of body weatherstripping. To learn more, here’s an in-depth guide on the different types of weatherstrippingfound on cars and trucks today.

When is replacement weatherstripping needed?

If your vehicle is suffering from excessive wind noise, rain leakage, or frequent visits from outside elements, then new automotive weatherstripping is needed as soon as possible. Otherwise, you might have a hard time keeping your interior dry during a rainstorm.

How do I know what type of weatherstripping I need?

Weatherstrips can vary from vehicle to vehicle, and it can be a bit more complicated on older cars. Below is a list of common terminology and where they fit

  • Door Seals - There are two basic types of door seals: sedan/coupe door seals and hardtop/convertible seals. Sedan and coupe door seals usually attach to the door or the door opening, and follow along the perimeter of the door. Unlike a sedan, hardtop and convertible seals attach to the doors and run along the sides and bottom edges of the door.
  • Roofrail Seals - Roofrail seals are only used on hardtop and convertible models. Hardtop seals run up the windshield pillar, along the roofline, and all the way down to the bottom side of the front or quarter side window. These seal the top of the side windows when rolled up. Convertible roofrail seals are also called convertible top seals. These usually come in multiple pieces and attach to the sides of the convertible top frame. They also seal the top of the side windows when rolled up.
  • Windshield Seals - The windshield weatherstrip surrounds the entire windshield glass. Some vehicles have windshields that are glued to the car, with the weatherstrip then laid on top, while other vehicles have the weatherstripping installed with the windshield, meaning it cannot be installed after.
  • Windshield Pillar Seals - Windshield pillar seals, also known as A-pillar seals, are typically 
    found on pre-1958 cars, and almost all convertibles and some Corvettes. These seals attach to the windshield pillar and seal either the vent window glass frame or front of the side glass to the windshield pillar.
  • Header Seals: Windshield or convertible top header seals are found on convertible cars or targa top Corvette coupes. The windshield header seal usually attaches to the front edge of the convertible top frame and seals the front of the convertible top to the top of the windshield frame.
  • Window Sweeps - Window sweeps are also often called window felts, window seals, window whiskers, or belt seals. Window sweeps attach on the outside to the top of the door and/or the quarter panel, and on the inside to the top edge of the interior door panel. The window sweeps "sweep" against the glass when the windows are rolled up or down, and help prevent water and debris from getting into the door and/or the quarter panel.
  • Window Channel Seals - Window channel seals, or window run channel seals, attach to the insides of the door window frame. The door glass then rolls up into them.
  • Hood-to-Cowl Seals - The hood-to-cowl seal attaches to the top of the firewall cowl and seals the back edge of the hood to the cowl when closed.
  • Trunk Seals and Rear Hatch Seals - Trunk seals attach to the body of the car and seal the trunk lid to the body. On a hatchback car, the rear hatch seal usually attaches to the body of the car and seals the rear hatch when closed.

How do I replace weatherstripping on car doors and windows?

To replace weatherstripping on car windows, doors, and other areas, you’ll need to Measure the dimensions of the old strip to your current one

  •  Remove any screws from the weatherstrip
  • Pry the weatherstrip off by hand
  • Remove any adhesive from the contact surface
  • Wipe down the weather channel and new weatherstrip
  • Apply adhesive to the weather channel
  • Align the weatherstrip and apply firm pressure
  •  Replace screws if needed
  •  Let the adhesive dry

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