Audi e-tron Sunroof Leaking – This is why!

In the world of EVs, the Audi e-tron is a sleek design with innovative features but none of this counts if the sunroof is leaking. Let’s look at what Audi is doing to address this problem.

Audi has a service bulletin to address and fix the leaking e-tron sunroof, but it might take more than one visit to the service center to eradicate the problem.

In this article, we’ll look at why the e-tron sunroof is leaking and how to get it fixed.

The issue of the e-tron sunroof leaking

The Audi e-tron is the mid to upper range cost for an EV, starting at $72k+. At this price, you don’t expect it to begin leaking every time it rains.

The problem is that rain doesn’t belong inside your e-tron and if the interior gets wet it can lead to other problems with electronic systems malfunctioning and the interior starting to smell or become moldy.

Many owners have reported their e-tron sunroof is leaking and many owners online have also complained that even after it has been fixed, it continues to leak after the next heavy downpour.

Why is the e-tron Sunroof Leaking?

There are a few reasons why the e-tron sunroof is leaking. They are:

  • Clogged Drainage Channel
  • Stress Crack in Channel
  • Seal Breakdown
  • Manufacturing Error

Clogged Drainage Sunroof Channel

The e-tron has a sunroof drainage system that moves water away from the sunroof and the car. However, over time items of debris, such as leaves or dirt can get caught in the channel and cause it to clog.

Water will always find a pathway and if it can’t move away from the car externally then it will unfortunately move internally. Resulting in a leak. The channel should be monitored regularly if the sunroof is continually open. Avoid parking under trees or places where dirt and dust can gather in the channels.

Stress Crack in Sunroof Channel

A stress crack in the channel is a known fault in the e-Tron and is part of a recall service bulletin. The stress crack may be due to a manufacturing defect or through pressure caused by the build-up of debris. Either way, it causes water ingress and will have to be repaired by Audi.

Seal Breakdown

On all cars, where the location of glass or an opening is, there will also be a rubber seal. The seals help maintain a watertight barrier and prevent leaks. But over time all seals will deteriorate in some form.

This can be caused by debris in the channel leading to friction or can be caused by UV breakdown.

The nature of a sunroof lends itself to being open when the sun is shining and this leads to the rubber seals being exposed to significantly more UV rays than to a door seal for example.

Once a seal begins to degrade it must be replaced by Audi.

Manufacturing Error

The last reason that the sunroof could be leaking is from the manufacturing or production stage of the car build. Each component must be fitted correctly to ensure a complete seal and even the tiniest margin of error can cause the sunroof to leak.

The mechanism along with the seal production must take into account all types of weather conditions including excessive downpours. But also must account for extreme temperatures where freezing rain or hail exists.

The other aspect that needs to be tested is high-powered car washing where excessive pressure can infiltrate the seals and lead to leakage.

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Steps to Address the e-tron Sunroof Leakage

We have established the cause of the sunroof leak but how do we go about fixing it?

If you suspect that it is caused by debris then it’s worth taking a look. Open the sunroof fully and with a step stool have a good look into the track runners. If you spot anything, with a soft brush remove any leaves or significant debris. Try not to drag any debris along the runners as this could cause further damage.

If there is any excess water dry this with a lint-free cloth. Hopefully, this will fix your leaking sunroof but if it doesn’t you’ll have to seek advice from the Audi Service Center.

Contacting Audi Service Center

Once you have notified Audi Service Center they will do a thorough check of the seals, and sunroof mechanism to establish what is causing the leak.

A leaking e-tron sunroof has been flagged as a defect and so is covered for repair, regardless of warranty coverage. (4 years/ 50k miles). The fault was first listed in late 2019 but was updated in 2020 in a Service Bulletin.

The technician is instructed to first check all drains and channels to rule out pinching from the pillar trim.

They then check the seals for any defect or detachment.

The glass is then checked for smoothness of track alignment.

The last thing they check is for water that has settled in the wind-defector area of the mechanism. This can occur after an unexpected downpour when the owner can’t get the roof closed quickly enough.

This area is not waterproof and although it may not be noticeable immediately, water can appear over some days.

Audi has developed a lubricant that prevents water from moving along the wind defector mechanism.

However, this special lubricant (G 052 141 A2) is different from the sunroof frame lubricant (Carbaflo) and will react negatively if the two come into contact, causing the tilt mechanism to wear more quickly.

The lubricant should be the fix for the leak. However, other items may have become damaged because of the leak and may need to be replaced. Certain parts can only be obtained from Audi Germany and the service time may be extended by several weeks until they arrive.

Many e-tron owners have complained online that they have had to make two if not three visits to Audi for the same leak. If this is the case for you then be sure that they are aware of the latest bulletin and the lubricant cross-contamination outcome.

Importance of Promptly Addressing A Sunroof Leak

It is very important to address any leak in your e-tron as soon as possible, especially a sunroof leak. The leak will initially materialize in the headliner but as I say, water will always find a route to the ground, so it won’t stop there.

It will cause damage to electrical components which then become a safety issue through lack of lights or other electrical systems.

Water sitting in any pocket or area for periods of time can cause corrosion of metal parts which can hamper the integrity of the car body, should it be in an impact.

Sitting water can also breed bacteria and mold. You may not have noticed a leak but can detect a musty odor. This will compromise the air quality in your car and breathing in this kind of spores can lead to health issues.

What initially started as a small very repairable leak can quickly escalate into a much bigger problem.

If it seems that you have ignored the problem for a longer period Audi may question your terms of warranty.

The best advice is to talk with Audi about your sunroof leak. Take lots of images of the leak. The leak might have dried in the time between when you noticed the leak and your service appointment. Document how and when the leak occurred and the conditions outside when you noticed.

It might not have been raining when you noticed the leak as it can take a couple of days for the water to reach internal parts.

In the meantime, absorb as much of the moisture as possible with towels to prevent further or prolonged interior damage.

Don’t attempt to DIY the repair. Although it might seem like a good idea, Audi is the only one with a full set of e-tron tools, and any sign of interference or trying to repair will void your warranty.

I’ve written other articles on common Audi issues, which you hopefully won’t ever experience, but if you do, we have you covered with these posts:

Audi e-tron Won’t Charge – Top Reasons Why!

Audi e-tron Won’t Unplug – Top tips to help you

John Cunningham

John Cunningham is a technical writer here at EVjuicedup.com. He's a Red Seal qualified Auto Service Technician with over twenty-five years experience working on Classic and Modern Cars. He's worked for GM, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo, Audi, and VW main dealers.

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