What Car? Q&A - Where is my car leaking from?

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Q: My car is leaking water into the driver's footwell. I have searched for leaks by inspecting the seals, sunroof and windscreen, and by using a hose to find out where the water is coming.

The water is isolated to the well and there aren't any signs elsewhere. Any ideas?
John Mooney


A: This is likely to be one of two problems.

First, the heater matrix may be leaking 'coolant' into the driver's footwell. This would explain why you can't spot any obvious leaks or damaged seals when investigating the problem.

Second, water is leaking through the rubber grommet at the point the steering column enters the car.

If there's been a lot of wet weather in your area recently, and you remember driving through any deep puddles of water, this could well be the culprit.

If so, the rubber grommet may simply need refitting correctly. If the rubber is perished or torn, however, the grommet will need replacing. Either way, it shouldn't cost you the earth.

If the 'water' is in fact 'coolant' from the cooling system, the heater matrix will require replacing. This can be expensive, as often some or all of the dash will need removing to access the part.

We'd advise getting the problem fixed as soon as possible, as a permanently damp footwell will cause the floor to corrode in time - and your car will no doubt start to whiff like a duck pond.

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