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Why Does My Jeep Soft Top Leak? All You Need to Know

Although Jeep is one of the most loved off-road vehicles, many complain about the soft top leak. I will discuss this in detail in this article. Jeeps contain various parts that require special care and attention and can wear out quickly. The soft top is also a part of the system, and due to lack of care and maintenance, it can leak. So, the question arises, why does the jeep soft top leak?

The soft top leaks in a state of worn out or overhang, leading to a major leak in a jeep. During the rainy season, the soft top leaks if there is any debris or restrictions in the drain hose. A leaking heater core and leaking windshield seals also lead to leakage in the soft top of the Jeep.

There are many reasons behind the leak of soft tops in Jeeps, including the lack of care and maintenance. A person should check the weather-stripping along the side of the Jeep and the little corners of the stripping. The corner where the windshield meets at the top also leaks so checks that one. 

Why Does My Jeep Soft Top Leak?

Why Does My Jeep Soft Top Leak

There are many causes behind the softtop leaks, with which hardtop removal and fitting issues being the main ones. The issue faced during the fitting of the jeep roof is also an issue of leaking.

The removal of hardtops is also a cause. The gaps are not filled and can lead to leakage. The damage to rubber seals and debris also leads to leakage, and one of the main reasons is the new freedom panels associated with the vehicle.

It can damage the rubber seals and clogs. The fitted bolts on the hardtop can become lost over time and lead to leakage in the roof of jeeps during a rainy day. The hardtop bolts on the mounting hold the capacity to loosen if you experience the trail riding at an extreme level.

We have created the infographic below that covers the reasons and the fixes on why jeep soft top leaks. (You are welcome to use and share but please credit us if you do so.)

Why Does My Jeep Soft Top Leak

How to Detect The Soft Top Leak?

Water drainage is common in the jeep during the rainy season, and water can enter the vehicle through roof leakage. Water is seen everywhere, from the seats to the center area of the console to the inside windows and on the floorboards.

The hardtop latches can let the water drop at the middle area of the vehicle, like the seats and dashboard. It is mainly due to the defect in the freedom panels. Floorboard leakage is not detected easily.

Causes Behind Water Accumulation on Floorboard:

It is a common issue of water on the floorboards which is due to the following defects:

  1. Rubber seals
  2. Clogged cowls
  3. Jeep air conditioning system
  4. Leakages from hardtop
  5. Water from the Jeep Air Condition System

1. Rubber Seals: 

There are usually two seals made up of rubber material in the jeep. They are used for preventing the vehicle and doors from water leaks. These rubber seals are adjusted on the side of the door, and one is on the vehicle’s body.

When the doors are closed, the rubber seals fit together to make them watertight. In jeep wranglers, rubber seals are usually placed around the removable doors. The water can step inside the vehicle if it lacks a rubber seal.

2. Clogged Cowls:

There are two passages in each jeep cowl. One of them facilitates the cabin air, and the other is intended to drain the water from the under-side of the jeep.

Mostly the debris and other material go inside the drainage tube and clogs inside the cowl. It causes water drainage in rainy situations in the passage of the air cabin, and water reaches the floorboard.

3. Jeep Air Conditioning System:

The water droplets from the air conditioning system inside the jeep are common. It is the result of condensation through the AC system that is present under the dashboard area. A small amount of water is a common thing and is due to the air conditioning system. 

4. Leakages from Hardtop:

Another reason for the water leak in a jeep is the damage caused to the latches of the roof and seals of the freedom panels. The damage to rubber seals and gaskets can also cause water leakage. The water drains under the panels of plastic inside the jeep and pools on the floorboards.  

5. Water from the Jeep Air Condition System:

It is a normal thing with jeep wranglers. A small amount of water can drop onto floorboards due to water condensation by the AC system under the dashboard. It’s not a big deal.

Why Does My Jeep Smell Like Antifreeze?

Diagnosing the Place of Jeep Leakage:

You can diagnose the places of jeep leakage in the vehicle through the below points:

Method of Checking Leakage


The rubber seals and their checking  

  • Check for the possible causes when you see the water accumulation inside your jeep. It is advisable to check out the rubber seals and pooling surface of the water on the inner side of the jeep.

  • Especially check on the floorboard that can create a way towards the spots in a leaking state. It is the easiest and simple way that many jeepers do not follow, and you can adopt this one.

Using a garden hose  

  • This method is also helpful to check out the water leaks in the jeep. A person can take the help of a garden hose and can source the shower water through it on their vehicle.
    If there is any leakage, it will be discovered easily through this method.

Damaged rubber seals and their checking

  • Check out the rubber seals on the door panel of the jeep for the leakage. Sometimes, poor and improper way of fitting with the vehicle body can lead to a top leak.

  • Check the rubber seals for any latches or defects and remove the freedom panels. Dust and different materials can sit on the freedom panels and cause the water to leak over time. The rubbers seals are not properly examined and have visible damage.

Using the method of a soap bubble

  • You can use this method to find out the defected area of leakage. The first step is to start the vehicle and blower. Let the air contact the AC vents. It will increase the speed of the blower at a full pace.

  • The next step is to shut down the windows of the vehicle. It will help if you come out after this. Close the doors of the jeep properly.

  • This will create pressure in the cabin of the jeep, and the air will try hard to escape from the environment of the jeep. If you observe the air escaping out around the doors, there is an issue of leaking.

  • You can point out the leaking points of the doors through the soapy method. Take some soapy water in the spray bottle for spraying it all around the door panels. Spray it well around the gas between door and body, roof, pillar bars, and freedom panels. There will be the formation of bubbles at those points having leakage. In this way, you will find out the leaking areas.

Consequences of Having a Water Leak in Jeep:

  • Water leaks lead to upholstery damage, shortage of electricity, and mold. These water leaks are inconvenient and frustrating for the driver.
  • The associated parts of a Jeep Wrangler are water-resistant. The parts include the infotainment center that is seen in many new models.
  • Jeep Wrangler holds the full capacity of fording in more than nineteen inches of water in a safe and drives moderately at a slow pace. It has an interior that can hold the drizzles and rain in bad weather conditions.
  • The water runs off the roof to soak the carpet when the door is opened. It cannot be fixed, and a person should explain this to the customer. It is the most unfortunate condition with such type of vehicles.

Tips for Stopping the Soft Top from Leaking:

Jeep owners always think that their brand is remarkable. They always stick to their jeep and hold the capability to overlook all the issues of their vehicle. The off-roading nature of Jeep wranglers makes them susceptible to leaking, although they are reliable vehicles.

Leaks can prevail when debris builds up in their seals and bolts and can loosen the hardtop. Here are some tips that can help you prevent and lessen the overall issues associated with the leaks in your vehicle. 

Why Does My Jeep Soft Top Leak

1. Clean the Rubber Seals:

Commonly, debris can build up around the rubber seals. It can stick the deals of the hardtop of your vehicle and creates a hindrance to stop the water from entering the vehicle. It is seen in the Jeep wrangler with the tops off when a person is on an off-road adventure.

Using a wet rag, you can remove the debris by wiping it down from the seals. It helps to remove the dirt particles from the rubber seal. You can place some q tips inside the creases within the Jeep Hardtop seals to remove the excess dirt and grime. 

2. Check the Hardtop Bolts:

There are two bolts in the front of the jeep hardtop that might become susceptible to loosening and can lead to a leak in your Wrangler. These are the entry points for water and can seep down in your jeep. You can overcome this and can fix them by tightening them up. Make sure to tighten the bolt on each side of the jeep, which is a quick fix to your leak.  

3. Re-Adjust and Tighten the Seals:

You can prevent the water from entering the vehicle by re-adjusting and tightening the vehicle. You can modify the top laid down on the seals and make sure that no region of the seals gets folded outside.

Push the seal out to the seams of the top. Place it on the passenger’s side panel in a downwards direction to ensure the proper seal of the jeep. Workaround the jeep and tighten each latch in a unique pattern like a crisscross one.

Fold the two front sides of metal latches and tighten the bolts for compressing seals to their maximum capacity. It prevents the water from entering the vehicle. 

4. Clean The Door Seals:

The doors of the jeep wrangler are designed to keep the water out. Water can find its way to enter the vehicle’s inside as the seals wear over time. Jeep wranglers are made for off-roading, and during this experience, cracks and obstructions are found in the seals of the doors and hardtops.

It is a common issue seen with such vehicles and results in costly repairs and damages. It is advantageous to clean the vehicles’ seals, doors, and soft tops. Check for the cracks regularly and adopt preventive measures to upkeep the vehicle in a maintained state.

5. Incorporate Weather Stripping:

There are chances that your jeep wrangler can still be susceptible to leaking if you reduce the ways of leaking in your vehicle. You can incorporate some additional weatherstripping in your jeep wrangler and can compress and seal the roof. It will help prevent external elements like rain, dirt, and snow from entering the vehicle. 

Also Read:

Why is Jeep So Unreliable? All You Need to Know
The Top 10 Jeeps for Off-Roading
Can All Jeeps Go Off-Road? All You Need to Know
Why Does My Jeep Wrangler Keep Beeping? All You Need to Know
How Long Do Jeep Wranglers Last?
Can You Lower a Jeep Wrangler? All You Need to Know

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Why does a jeep leak in the rain?

The deposition of debris or any other sort of blockage in the drain hose of the Jeep can lead to leakage in the rain. The other leakage factors include the heater core and seals of the windshield in a Jeep Wrangler.

How can a person fix the soft top of a Jeep?

It is recommended to clean both sides of the repair area with isopropyl alcohol. It will help remove the dirt, residue, or any other restriction. Trim away the fraying edges with scissors and apply a piece of tenacious tape over the tear or hole.

Do all types of soft-top convertibles leak?

Soft top convertibles don’t leak. They are made up of vinyl-coated fabric and are waterproof and durable. If they are locked in a closed position and properly shielded to the windshield frame, they don’t leak.

Why do the convertible tops leak?

In colder climatic regions, the convertible tops and seals deteriorate due to exposure to elements. Due to this, the convertible roof starts leaking. It is necessary to lubricate the seals twice per year to keep them in good condition. 

What are the causes of water leaking from under cars?

The leaking fluid is coolant if the vehicle and electronic components are not submerged in water. There are various reasons behind this leakage.

Is it possible to repair the soft top?

It is possible to repair the soft top. You can repair the vinyl convertible top by inspecting the damage. If the damage is less than 12 inches, you can repair it with a patch from a tear-aid repair kit.

Are the jeep soft tops waterproof?

Jeep wranglers are water-resistant. People often confuse them with being water-resistant. The Jeep will always work well if the vehicle and electronic components are not submerged in water.