Rear Hatch Water Leak near Hinge

Rear Hatch Water Leak near Hinge

Well, I've had a small water leak in my hatch directly above the left rear seat since I bought the car 1.5 years ago. Had played with the weather stripping some, but it never solved the problem. Today I partially pulled the weather stripping off and also the little cover for the hatch hinge bolts on the headliner, and had a friend drip a small amount of water on the roof to run down into that area. The water is very clearly getting through at the hinge. Any others have experience like this? Is there supposed to be a rubber gasket in there?

Greg Klanderman
88 S4 5spd 109k mi


This is a common problem. There is supposed to be either a rubber gasket or some sealer under the hinge. Some windshield sealer will work well. Sometimes when the hatch is removed for repairs it will be replaced without any sealer. The same is true of those little ends that hold the roof tracks on.

You can leave the pistons in place and remove the bolts to a single hinge at a time. This is better done with two people but can be done with one. Remove the two hex bolts on one hinge with the hatch up. Be sure you have good pistons and they have the proper clips holding the ends on. Push up on the area around the loose hinge to create a small gap. Use a caulking gun to put some sealer on the surface below the hinge. Reattach the hinge with the bolts and tighten up. Use a rag to clean off the excess sealer. Repeat on the other side. This will insure that the adjustment of the hatch remains the same - to guarantee that the hinge does not slip you can scribe it first. I scribe all adjustments before I remove them.

3M makes a sealant for this purpose that works great.

You can use household products but for some reason they do not hold up on cars.

Good luck,
Dan Brindle


I did this last weekend (only on the leaking side) and tested this morning and it's no longer leaking!!!

I used a small tube of clear silicone windshield sealer I got at Autozone. Not sure that's exactly what you
intended, will see how it holds up...


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