Take a trip to the car wash to test the weatherstripping

Dear Car Talk:

I purchased a 2020 Subaru Outback in October 2020. Since day one, after normal rain, there is water on the lower sills of all four doors. Service tells me this is normal. I am an 83 year old female. Are they gaslighting me?

They worked twice on my car – once resealing the doors and the second time replacing the door seals. The problem persists.

Am I a “Karen” to complain, or should I still be worried? Thank you.

— Viviane

Well, first of all, Vivian, you’re not a Karen. You are a Vivian. I’m glad we clarified that.

Second, it depends on what you mean by “lower door sills”.

When you open the door, you’ll see a flat plastic or metal sill that might say “Subaru” or “Outback” on it. This threshold is considered to be outside the car. It would therefore be normal to see water on this sill when it is wet.

The gasket – the one your dealership replaced, is there to keep water out of that sill and into the car itself. So if you see water on the carpet – that is, on the passenger side of the sill – then you have a problem.

The fact that the dealership replaced all of the gaskets suggests that they may be okay that water is getting into your car.

Or maybe they took their word that you saw water “inside your car” and took the normal action they would take when a door leaks water.

If you’re not sure, here’s what I suggest. Buy a box of cookies and go to the car wash. Then go directly to the dealership. Ask a mechanic to look at the car with you. Open the door, show him where you see water and ask if it’s outside the door seal or inside the door seal.

If it’s just the threshold, give him the cookies as a peace offering and thank him for helping you. But if the water is actually inside the car and the carpet is wet, then they’ll need to figure out how it’s leaking and fix it for you under warranty. And you are well within your rights to complain until they do.

Good luck, Vivian.

Ask your questions online at CarTalk.com.
(c) 2022 by Ray Magliozzi and Doug Berman
Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.

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