Power window puzzles reader

 2012 Corolla

2012 Corolla (Toyota / June 9, 2014)

Q: My 2013 Corolla S has a right rear power window that puzzles me. When I begin to roll it down, the door panel moves toward me, and I see a streak in the window (I'm assuming it brushed hard against something inside). After that initial movement, the window goes all the way down smoothly until I have to raise it up, and again it makes an unusually awful sound that I'm afraid may break something eventually.

— G.V., Lawrence, Kan.

A: You're right. Something will probably break unless you have this problem fixed. A tech can pop off the door panel to see the problem, but don't try this yourself unless you have the proper tools to remove the fasteners.

Q: Recently you printed my letter (about water in my car) and responded that I should try parking my car with the nose pointing down on my driveway. You also suggested I try a body shop to have the roof seams checked. I haven't had a chance to get to a body shop yet, but I did park the way you suggested. It has rained, and I must say your suggestion has helped. I am curious though about why parking with nose down instead of nose up would make a difference.

— W.S., Naperville, Ill.

A: Since water flows downhill, we surmised that the leak is at the rear of the vehicle, and parking nose down allows the water to flow toward the front. We now have a better idea of where the leak is. Better still, the assembled knowledge of our readers pays off once again. Several wrote to tell us they had the same problem and what it is. Read on.

Q: I believe I can help regarding the reader's interior leak in the 2003 Highlander. You are correct in that it is a seam, but it is subtle and disguised. The roof-to-door-frame seams underneath and near the very top (of) the rear hatch are cracked. This is hard to see, as it is a shallow gap. Water enters the inside frame of the car and into the spare tire compartment, which eventually fills with gallons of water. It sloshes and overflows forward through small openings at the top of the spare tire storage recess, which leads to the passenger compartment.

— P.D., Wilmette, Ill.

Q: In response to the problem described in your (recent) column, open the rear hatch. Directly above the support strut mounting positions there are spot-welded lap joints. The joint is constructed such that the lower piece overlaps the upper piece. A hairline crack in the paint, at the edge of the joint, may also be visible. It doesn't look possible, but this is actually where the water is entering. Over time, water leaks inside and fills the pockets behind the rear wheels, which are about 6 inches deep, hence the sloshing sound originally described. Eventually, the pockets will fill high enough that water will slosh forward when descending a steep grade or under hard braking and flood the passenger foot wells. Simply apply seam sealer or caulk to the two joints above the support strut anchors.

— J.S., Berlin, Conn.

A: That "seams" like a good solution to me. Thanks.

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