You can’t go wrong with hard tops: they protect the Jeep’s cabin from Mother Nature and can quickly turn the Wrangler into a convertible. Plus, they look great and add a retro, classic vibe. But what if the top starts leaking? Does that mean you gotta save big bucks for a replacement? Or maybe there are some things you can do to fix that? Great news: a leaking top can, indeed, be repaired.
Sometimes, it’s a matter of changing the seals and bolts. In other cases, a readjustment is in order. So, don’t get all upset when dealing with Jeep Wrangler hard top leaking. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to bring it back on its feet with minimal time, labor, and financial investments. Come check out my quick and easy solutions!
#1: Check the Bolts
We start by diagnosing the bolts, as statistically, they’re the most common cause of leaking. You’ll find a bolt on each side of the Wrangler, close to the doors. They loosen over time; this is especially true if you do lots of off-roading (all those bumps and climbs put lots of pressure). When the bolts are loose, water finds a way to seep through the tiny mounting holes and (potentially) ruin the cabin.
So, just take a quick look at the bolts and see whether they’re secure or not. A hex wrench is all it’s going to take to tighten them up. In some rare, severe cases, the bolts will be taken over by corrosion. This calls for a replacement, of course. A brand-new set will cost you +/- 10 US dollars. Just make sure the aftermarket bolts are compatible with your hard top!
#2: Keep the Rubber Seals Clean
No matter how premium-quality or tight the seals are, they will still get dirty after a few off-roading trips. That’s why keeping them nice and clean is one of the most effective ways to avoid a leaking top in the first place. And remember: the seals get dirty when you’re driving with the hardtop off. All the dust, pollen, and debris find their way up there and prevent the seals from doing their job.
A wet piece of cloth is all it’s gonna take to get rid of all the dirt. And if you’ve got some cleaning formula in the garage, use it to strengthen the effect. Rags can’t reach the far edges or clean the creases properly. Some swabs or Q tips should do the trick. Be careful not to damage the seals, though.
#3: Take care of the Door Seals
That’s right: the door seals can also cause the hard top to leak. These seals are there to keep the water from the roof/top from getting into the interior. And, they’re usually good at that. Yet, when one of the seals is cracked or damaged, that creates an opening for the water. If this happens at night while you’re sleeping and the Wrangler is exposed to rain, the cabin will be pretty much ruined.
Inspect all the Wrangler door seals and order a replacement if the stock ones are bad. But, before installing the new seals, make sure there’s no dust or dirt left there; otherwise, water will leak right through. And if there aren’t any signs of wear, fix the seals with rags, water, and a cleaning solution.
#4: Try Readjusting the Hardtop
With the bolts and the seals dealt with, move on to the actual hardtop. During the installation, we make sure that it sits exactly where it belongs, with the seals holding it in place. However, when not taken care of for a long time, the top may slightly shift to one of the sides, making the seals fold. To readjust the hard top remove the passenger side panel. That way, it will be much easier to access the top and to see whether it needs fixing.
Everything’s looking good? Great, Then go ahead and check on the latches, tightening them if need be. It’s not rare for loose latches to be the cause of leaking in a Jeep Wrangler.
#5: Buy Extra Weather Stripping
What if all the solutions from above don’t fix the leaks? What can you do then? Additional weather stripping might be the answer. It will help you minimize hardtop leaking or even prevent water from ever dripping into the cabin. Weather stripping is cheap and available at hardware stores. All you gotta do is measure it, cut the right length, and glue it to the roof. It will serve as an extra layer of protection.