Removing and replacing a car door seal
January 12, 2013 12:08 PM   Subscribe

I have a 2002 Honda Civic and I want to remove the lower rubber seal on the front passenger door. Is there a way to do this without damaging it?

Some rust is starting to bubble beneath the seal and below it, so I want to remove the seal before I sand the rust down and paint it over. The seal is attached to the door by several plugs. I tried removing one of the plugs with a pair of pliers, but in the process almost tore the plug in half. Is there another way to remove the seal?

It may be that the rubber in the plug is simply old, and there is no way to remove the seal without damaging it. If so, where should I buy a replacement for it?
posted by Estragon to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total)
Weatherstripping should be available online or from your local parts store with ease for this very popular model, even a 10-year-old one, so don't worry about that so much.

In general the stuff is designed for removal with some combination of finesse, torque, and determination (there may be a rubber cement-type adhesive helping seal things up as well). On my '98 Accord the seals are attached with little pink or blue plastic grommets that seem to come out with ease from either the seal itself or the door frame depending on how I futz with them (as a result I'm not sure they come with the door or the seal, so to speak). If you don't think you can remove it w/o damage then price replacement and decide if you can live with the problem or not.

Can you access the "inside" portion of the plugs by removing the interior panel of the door?
posted by dhartung at 12:37 PM on January 12, 2013

Thanks, dhartung. That weatherstripping link looks like just what I need, and at those prices it's probably not worth it to try to finesse the problem by removing the door panel.
posted by Estragon at 12:44 PM on January 12, 2013

You will need to buy new seals at the dealer. It may not be as bad as you fear on price. Overtime these seals get old, deteriorate and lose flexibility. It is just the nature of flexible rubber. It is over 10 years old. There are lots of little plastic clips on cars these days that also get old and brittle and impossible to remove without breaking. I don't even bother to try anymore, I just break them and count on buying new ones, and usually they are only available at the dealer (or at least ones worth buying that actually fit and work right). So just rip the rubber and replace it with a new one, it is the only real way to get a good seal again. In my poorer days I tried to use rubber cement, silicone caulk and so on to hold it in place but nothing really works well. Any honda dealer will have it or can order it. You will be amazed at how quieter the car is also with a new seal. It is a major source of noise entry to a car and as they get old and brittle they stop being able to stop noise.
posted by bartonlong at 3:50 PM on January 12, 2013

Seconding bartonlong on getting a new seal from a Honda dealer, or any place online that sells the actual Honda part. The universal aftermarket kits might work, but they aren't going to work as well as an OEM part will.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:46 AM on January 13, 2013

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