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Seals & gaskets: this is what to observe
Seals are used in a car for all kinds of applications. The gaskets in the engine compartment are generally replaced on occasion of repair and maintenance. This does not apply to all seals. The bonnet as well as the boot lid and all car doors are equipped with rubber seals. These too need maintenance in order to prevent untimely repair or replacement.
Rubbers: sealing the indoors from the outdoors
Rubber seals of doors, boot and bonnet serve only one purpose: keeping the moisture and the rain from the interior and thus providing mechanical protection. By keeping dirt, moisture and wind at a distance they offer optimal user comfort.
How to spot damaged seals
Damaged seals are not always easy to spot. Door and window rubbers in a car are not regularly checked. Secondary symptoms make a driver aware of defective seals. The following symptoms indicate a defective rubber:
- loud wind noises during driving
- a strong draught regardless of ventilation
- windows fog quickly on the inside
- in the morning the car feels clammy
- the footwell in the car is damp after heavy rainfall
- water is visibly penetrating in the car.
These are all serious indications of defective rubbers no longer effectively sealing off. The said effects can occur both in the interior and in the boot.
Rubber seal maintenance: this is what to observe
Seals are exposed to high strain. If they are not regularly maintained, they tend to lose their elasticity and as a result lose their performance. Rubber damage can quickly occur when they are not regularly maintained taking the weather into account. Door and window seals need maintenance and protection in summer as well as in winter. In summer, sunlight dries them out. In winter on the other hand, seals can sustain damage as a result of freezing moisture. Maintenance takes little time and is quickly done. Just follow these simple steps:
- remove dirt and moist with an old rag.
- apply a thin layer of maintenance agent (e.g. acid-free vaseline) according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- use the supplied sponge or a clean cotton cloth for application.
- maintain the rubbers regularly, ca. once a month.
- After each cleaning, rubbers should be dried and a new layer of maintenance agent applied.
Following these steps and investing a little time in your rubber seals allow you to protect your car better and considerably longer. The little time it takes and the cheap price for a maintenance product are worth it.
DIY replacement of door seals: worth your while
Rubber seals are easy to replace in general. It greatly depends on the age and the actual condition of the old rubber. Be sure to follow these steps:
- tear out the old rubber from a spot on a straight stretch
- remove the seal from this spot over the entire length
- beware of stains: many rubbers have an adhesive agent on the bottom side
- clean the subsurface for the rubber thoroughly
- if necessary, roughly adapt the length of the new rubber
- carefully place the rubber on the subsurface and press it
- starting from one side, insert the rubber in the groove and press it
- cut the rubber to the exact length at its end
- press the entire rubber thoroughly once more after application
- preventively treat the rubber with maintenance agent.
If the old rubber is very aged and worn, its replacement will take considerably longer. The brittle rubber must be scratched from the groove bit by bit. A wooden spatula comes in handy here as it spares both paint and door. Cleaning will be a lot of work and take longer as well. Nevertheless, the replacement is essential to ensure a lasting protection of your car's interior.