Water Dripping From Under Steering Wheel (I Fixed It!)

Water dripping from under steering wheel or dashboard on driver side of the car is a very common and irritating problem. Sometimes it happens suddenly, sometimes slowly, but most of the time it takes place continuously. As a result, it is very annoying. Many times, people try to fix the problem by doing a DIY job, and it is never solved. In this article, we are going to discuss the most common causes of water in the steering column and very effective ways of solving the problem.

The plugged sunroof drain of the car is the most cause of water dripping from under the steering wheel. The other reasons for water dripping from under the steering wheel is a clogged drain tube of the cowl, bad weatherstripping around the windshield, plugged drain hose of the driver side kick panel, and a leaking heater core, clogged drain of the car A/C evaporator coil.

This is how water was dripping under the steering wheel of my car. I fixed it by cleaning the cowl cover of my car.

water dripping from under steering wheel

Causes And Solutions of Water Dripping Under Driver Side Dashboard and Steering Wheel

1. Clogged Sunroof Drain

If your car has a sunroof, chances are that it is clogged with dirt and debris, due to which it is creating a pool of water and causing it to drip from under the steering wheel.

Sunroof of the car can cause water leaks due to the following reasons:

  • Drain holes of sunroof become clogged
  • Drain tubes become clogged and cause an overflow of water
  • Drain tubes are broken or disconnected. you can check the disconnection of the drain tube by removing the headliner, side kick panel and the carpet under the accelerator pedal.

The sunroof is basically a controlled leak that is installed into a big pan. The sunroof is never sealed perfectly. So, it features a tray/pan around it to collect the water.

The sunroof features 1 to 4 drain holes in the corners. There are sunroof drain tubes in the holes that are supposed to take water from the sunroof through the pillars to the bottom of the car from the driver and passenger side floors between the cabin and wheel wells. If the sunroof drain pipe gets clogged, the water will back up into the vehicle and drip from under the dashboard and steering wheel.

The drain hose from the sunroof runs behind the driver-side kick panel.  If the drain hose gets loose there, it can also cause water to leak under the dashboard, glove box, and steering wheel. You will see a plastic piece that clips to the firewall to allow the drain tube of the sunroof to stay in place so that the water directs out from the drain tube and onto the ground. If the plastic piece gets dislodged or loose, the water from the drain tube will flow through under your glove box near the steering wheel.

Since water is leaking from under steering wheel, you have to inspect the drain hose of the sunroof that follows the A-frame. It ends at the kick panel areas in front.

To diagnose whether a sunroof drain holes are clogged or not, you have to remove the sunroof seal, pour a little water in there and make sure they are free of any obstructions. You may need to blow them out with compressed air or a piece of wire if they are clogged up. You can use this weed wacker line to plug it through the drain hole.

using weed wacker line to clean drain holes of sunroof

This video is helpful to clean the drain hole of the car sunroof.

Keep in mind that don’t blow too much air pressure into the drain tubes or they will blow off.

air blow through the clogged drain hole of sunroof

I found another Youtube video in which the guy is replacing the drain tubes of the sunroof to fix the problem of water dripping under the dashboard.

2. Clogged Drain of Cowl Cover

The cowl cover is located at the front of the car, between the windshield and the hood. Cowl is a shield protecting the engine from debris and rain. In new cars, Cowl is made of plastic or composite materials.

Sometimes, the cowl drain hole gets heavily clogged with the decaying leaves, causing water to leak into the car.  The drain holes on both sides of the cowl keep water away from getting in the fresh air vent.

Drain holes collect leaves, debris and rust out. This causes the water to come inside, rather than channel it out and down along the exterior of the cowl. When drain holes get clogged up, the ventilation tray is filled with the water and starts dumping water into the cabin through the air vents.

This is how the ventilation tray can be clogged with leaves and debris after removing the cowl cover.

leaves and debris clogged the cowl cover drain and cause water dripping under the steering rack

You have to vacuum that ventilation tray and clean drain holes on both sides with a wire brush.

I have this Youtube video really helpful for cleaning the clogged cowl tray of any car.

3. Rust Holes In the Firewall

Lift the floor carpet under the accelerator pedal and see if there is any rust hole. One person reported that it was in the firewall, where the brake booster mounts and throttle cable passes through. Also, look at the drain area under the hood hinge. This is where the problem of rust holes arises due to not being washed periodically.

Moreover, if the water is leaking into the footwell under the steering wheel, it might be present in the firewall on the driver side basically right where the brake booster mounts. Lift the hood, if there is a rust hole, you will see a good deal of water dripping under the brake booster.

Remove the kick panel from the underside of the dashboard to get a better look at where exactly the water might be coming in. That void is pretty high up on the firewall inside the car so the leak may be difficult to source without additional disassembly.

Final Thoughts

So, the most possible cause of water dripping from under steering wheel can be the clogged or disconnected drain tubes of the sunroof. However, if your vehicle does not have a sunroof, you should remove the cowl cover and see if the drain holes of the ventilation cover are clogged with debris and decaying leaves.

Also, check if there are rust holes in the firewall near the brake booster. You also check if rust spots near the windshield under the hood hinge. Moreover, also check whether the weatherstripping of the windshield is cracked or not.

Furthermore, if the floorboard of your car gets wet while turning on the A/C, the chances are that the A/C drain is clogged. If the A/C is turned off and the floorboard of your car is wet, you should smell it and rub it with your fingers. If it has a sweet smell, and a colored tint, the chances are that. the heater core is leaking as it is mounted just behind the dashboard.