Had to clean my sunroof drains today

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Mar 17, 2008
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The last couple times it rained my Avalon driver's side A pillar would be wet. At first I thought I had a windshield leak but checked YouTube. A guy mentioned the sunroof drains getting clogged. I checked the driver's side one and it drained slow. I got a long piece of string trimmer line and worked it down the hole and also used a straw to blow air and mouthfuls of water down the hole. I did the passenger side as well. Works good now!

First time I have had to do this on a car. However I haven't owned a lot of sunroof vehicles.

Ever had an issue with yours?
 
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Haven't yet. I'll bring up sunroof lube since we are speaking of sunroofs. I got this 3&1 RV window and track dry lube at Walmart and it works great on sunroofs.


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The sun roofs have 4 drains, one each corner. The back drains are by the rear wheel wells. I normally flush these using an air gun.
 

ZZman

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The sun roofs have 4 drains, one each corner. The back drains are by the rear wheel wells. I normally flush these using an air gun.
Would those being clogged make the trunk wet or inside the passenger compartment?
 

GON

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Would those being clogged make the trunk wet or inside the passenger compartment?
Yes, absolutely. Very common issue with Pontiac Bonnevilles' (2000-2005) and Lincoln Navigators' (2003-2006).

I love the idea of lubing the sunroof rails, not sure I would put the lube in the drain holes. Be afraid the residual my end up attracting dirt over time.
 
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Boston, Massachusetts
Over the years, I've cleared some very stubbornly clogged sunroof drain tubes by using an old speedometer cable chucked into a cordless drill. Ran the drill very slowly both clockwise and counterclockwise while gently feeding the (very flexible) speedometer cable into the top of the drain tube until it reached the tube's exit. After that, I ran water from a hose to flush out any remaining debris.
 
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I've used thick weedeater string fed in slowly and twisting back and forth like a drill bit. Do not use alot of pressure as nothing good happens if the tube is pulled apart inside an A or C pillar
 
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The worst design is the the Cadillac DeVille that has duckbill valves at the end of the drain tubes buried behind the fender plastics.

Solution pry open the plastic and cut the valve off discovering a ton of leaf/dirt debris

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I have never owned a car with a sunroof and posts like these make me glad I haven’t. My wife bought one and I think she maybe opened it 3-4 times in the 10+ years we had that car. The novelty wore off really soon.
 
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Central FL
I find the string trimmer line trick and a very low air pressure blast to work stubborn lines free.

Best preventative measure I found though? Just wash the car.

No sun roof seals completely. The overspray of a good wash and rinse tends to keep them clear here where pollen is usually the culprit. But there's that 1 in 10 parked under a tree that gets sap and leaves that needs mechanical intervention.
 
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I have never owned a car with a sunroof and posts like these make me glad I haven’t. My wife bought one and I think she maybe opened it 3-4 times in the 10+ years we had that car. The novelty wore off really soon.
I almost never open my sunroof, but like having the open view above me, except on long trips when it's too sunny, then pull the blind back to cover it.

Like others I find the easiest safe-ish way to clean the drains is first put a string trimmer line through it and once it is flowing water, adjust air compressor down to low PSI and blow some air through. I thought about trying some of that enzyme based drain cleaner, but it works best if it sits for hours while I like instant results... still might try it just to get more fungus out of the tubes.
 
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