Where is the water coming from?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Mar 01, 1992

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have an '88 Toyota Camry LE. I bought it used, with 35,000 miles on it. My problem is small, but aggravating. Inside the trunk, on the left hand side, in the "well" next to the tires, water accumulates when it rains. My dealer has no idea where this water comes from. The seals are dry, as is the rest of the trunk. I park it outside, and have been doing a lot of bailing lately. Do you have any idea where the water is coming from?

TOM: Gee, Pauline. Last time I had water leaking into my trunk, the dealership tried to convince me it was coming in through the cassette slot on the radio. They told me to just put a piece of duct tape over the flap, and forget about it.

RAY: Actually, Pauline, there's really only one place the water could be coming from on a car this new. It has to be coming in through the rubber seal between the body of the car and the trunk lid. And the Toyota dealer knows that as well as we do.

TOM: The dealer's probably just reluctant to install a new seal. He knows that when he takes off the old seal, he's just as likely to make the leak worse as he is to fix it.

RAY: But there's really no place else the leak could be coming from. There are no sources of water in the trunk itself, and unless the underbody is completely rusted through (unlikely at 35,000 miles), or the car has been in a serious rear end collision, it's not coming in from underneath the trunk. In truth, that would be about as likely as having it come in through the radio.

TOM: So ask the dealer or a body shop to put a new seal on for you. Eventually, they should be able to get it to stop leaking. If not, see if Toyota can retrofit your Camry with the remote power bilge pump option. Good luck, Pauline.

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