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Hispanic member
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As with any DIY you assume full responsibility for what you do to your car. 413rspec aka ME is in no way liable for any damage that happens!

Well as most of you guys know our trunks get filled with water causing rust to your emergency equipment (jack, tow hook, etc) and bad smells if not caught on time. Sure you can take it to the dealer and fix it under warranty as long as you have your original tail lights and sure they're probably going to give you an excuse not to do it but if you want a quick permanent solution to all of you current and future tail light/trunk water leak... well here it is!

first off my leak caused an actual swimming pool in my trunk which i actually had to pull the plugs to drain.... scratching my head, i wondered just like everyone else!?!?! wtf how could this happen to a new car!?!?!?

Instead of waiting for it to rain i just pretty much grabbed my hose and made it rain... pouring into the drain channels on the trunk lid eventually the leak came through and sure enough the seal on the tail lights were shot!

this is the easiest way to permanently fix your leak regardless what tail lights you use.

what you need:
-common sense
-basic hand tools to remove tail lights (check other diy for that)
-Rubber foam weather seal (available at home depot)
-knife/scissors

and permission from mom and dad if applicable



step one:

determine whether your leak is coming from the tail light seal or not.... a quick spray down towards the trunk lid will determine that! make sure to really make it rain in order for the leak to be consistent enough.

driver side:


passenger side:


step 2:
after you confirmed that your leak is in fact coming from your tail lights, remove your tail lights for prepping. there's a bunch of diy explaining on how to do this step.

step 3:

clean your surfaces including current gasket on tail lights and body.
you can use soap and water but make sure its dry prior installation.


step 4:

apply your new weather strip to your current gasket following the original pressure points and cut to size accordingly.

before:



after:



step 5:

put everything back the way it was... reverse the procedure and notice that you will need to put a bit more pressure when installing your tail lights. however do not over tighten the bolts as you may damage them.

that's it... problem solved and best of all it literally cost less than $5, less than 20 minutes of your life without the headaches from any d**ch bag dealer!
 

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Because Racecar
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Thanks for the guide!
My car is currently at the dealer for this issue. I'm getting replacements or getting the 2013 tails on my car. Do the 2013's have the same issue?
 

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Just had one of my taillights replaced under warranty due to condensation.

Might try this if it happens again.
 

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I've noticed just my left tail light had a little condensation on the inside, I haven't checked for water in my trunk so I might do that soon. This does look like a good DIY for the problem that is easy enough to do.
 

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Does anyone with 2013 tail lights or aftermarket tail lights have this issue? I've been to the dealer 3 times and it still leaks in the spare tire well. I'm thinking of getting different tail lights...
 

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My car is to new to me to know, and it is winter so rain isn't an issue.
 

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I would like to add to the DIY part. When tightening those 8 mm nuts, be careful not to crack the plastic seat where the bolt is glued in to. I cracked mine so I had to JB weld it back in place. Still could hear it cracking as I tightened it down.
 

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Your finger strategically covers the width, it looks like you're using 1" wide strip? I wonder if using a thinner (width) strip would still help and still allow the tails to mount flush against the body?
 

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Additional Trunk Leaks & Solution

I've also had a leak in my trunk and I followed the DIY posted above. The width of the strip used above is 3/4". HOWEVER, the taillight gaskets appeared to be only part of the problem for me. The other leaks were coming from the trunk lid seal (near the trunk latch), and 2 screws/anchors for the bumper. I made an album on imgur that shows where the screws/anchors are, and the silicone sealant I used to fix the problem:

https://imgur.com/a/Jh9Ey

To fix the leaks, I did the following:
-Removed everything from the trunk interior.
-Removed the taillights and installed the foam as described in the DIY above.
-Completely covered the exterior screw and mount shown in the imgur album with silicone sealant I got from Home Depot.
-Completely covered the interior plastic anchor with the silicone sealant. I used a straw to get to the anchor, because it's in a very hard-to-reach location.
-Put silicone sealant around the entire base of the exterior trunk lid seal.
-Put silicone sealant around the base of the interior trunk lid seal. I just did this for the bottom part of the trunk, near the bumper & latch.

The only tools needed were an 8mm ratchet for the taillights, a flat head screwdriver to help remove some of the trunk lining pins, and a phillips head screwdriver to remove some of the other trunk parts.

I hope this helps! I'll try to answer any questions you guys have.

EDIT: Also, in my case, the trunk would fill up with water, I would hit the brakes, the water would spill forward, forming a puddle in the lowest point beneath the back seats, then spill forward again into the back seat footwell. So, if you have water in your trunk, you might want to remove your back seat as well, to clean up any puddles that may be there. This is a good youtube video for removing the back seats:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcxmX83j9Ag

EDIT 2: And if you're curious to know if yours leaks, just remove a taillight and pour water directly onto the exterior bumper bolt, shown in the imgur album. The water was literally pouring straight into my trunk.
 

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Great job! I had major water coming in from a crack in the fender that was never sealed from the factory- I'm going to check your locations as well. Click on my name and previous posts to see big pictures of my problem area. I didn't do the foam, since the dealer replaced my tails in full under warranty- I'm sure I will in the future however :)
 

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(Tony)
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Just curious, how many bags you bought to cover up both Tail lights? about to do this soon.
 

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I wanted to offer a word of warning. I tried this fix to my GC 2011 Trac with the exact same weather stripping material. I was very careful not to over tighten the bolts when I reinstalled it and things initially looked great. About a week later I was in my trunk and it was soaked. I immediately inspected the rear brake light and every one of the studs had pulled out of the plastic housing. I guess the extra pressure of the gasketing was enough to pull the threads out over time. I've managed to cold weld the threads back in place, but the light is still leaking. I'm having the dealer look at it next week, since the car is still under warranty, but I'm fully expecting some push back since I tried to fix it myself and ultimately made things worse.
 

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To be honest, I would not use that weather stripping material on taillights and would much rather use a round butyl tape. It is very cheap, flexible, long lasting and is made for applications as such. it is much cheaper online but one can pick up a roll over at their local Sherwin Williams Automotive store and it is about $25. Those who don't know - that's exactly what Nissan used to use on their cars from the 90s, not sure about today though. My 1990 240sx finally started to leak 13 years later because in 13 years it finally transformed into hard plastic. Make sure you clean the area with some rubbing alcohol and apply ON the taillight itself, not on the body and firmly push the lights inside the car's body and do not overtighten the screws on the back. The only con to this is that the material is messy if you are not careful.

CRL 5/16" Round Autoglass Butyl Tape
 

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Well it finally happened.

Noticed a damp smell in my car yesterday (after a hard rain), checked my trunk this morning, sure enough there was about 1/4"-1/2" of water in the spare tire well. Trunk carpet was all dry.
Popped open the two drain plugs in the well to drain most of the water. It's really hard to see much in the trunk, it's a 2015 so there's only small access ports for the tail lights and everything else is covered.

There was a small amount of water near/on the gasket to tail light seal, so it looks like they are the culprit.
I didn't see any broken/open welds near the rear window, and I don't have a sunroof so it's not that drain channel.

Popped up the back seat to check if water sloshed over, sure enough there's some water there as well, foam is damp, but it doesn't look like much water (or any) made it over the hump and into the foot-wells.
I popped open the drain plugs under the seat foam to drain the small amount of water there.

At this point I feel like Hyundai knew water would eventually get into all these places, hence the drain plugs.

I'm not even going to bother with the dealership. I removed the tail lights once in order to install LED bulbs for the turn signals and reverse lights, so that's probably when the tail light seal was compromised.

I'm going to remove the tails to clean the gasket and re-install, then I'll try the tape seal fix or silicone seal fix where the tail light meets the trunk's drain channel.

It's supposed to rain tomorrow so I guess I need to do this tonight, any tips or input appreciated!
 

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OK so I cleaned up the water in the trunk and under the backseats, poured water down trunk drain channel so it ran over the tail light gap and I replicated the leak. Looks like the tail light gasket seal, no surprises there.

I taped up the gap (I used electrical tape) and poured more water to test, no more dripping. It's insane how much water got in just from that.

However, I stuck my arm down into each of the deeper wells under the tail lights/next to the wheels and there's a good inch or more of water in there. But I can't get to it in order to dry it out.
The trunk is completely lined with that rigid cardboard/felt material, I was only able to shove my arm through the tail light access panels.

Any suggestions? Or does anyone know if there is a drain plug down there too?

EDIT:
I was able to remove the small plastic caddies that hold the jack equipment and then access the wells. I put the car on an incline and soaked up a good amount of water.
There is a small round nut looking piece in each well, I couldn't remove it.
 
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