Key Takeaways

  • Your car doors do require draining, but with open car door drain holes, you’ll be fine.
  • If you do get clogged drain holes, that can lead to a corrosion problem in the car door
  • Unclogging drain holes can involve spraying them free of pine needles, dirt, and sap.
  • Rain gets into the car door via the door seal, so even a closed window might not fix
  • Clean the drain holes out especially during the fall and spring.

This post may include affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we'll receive a commission at no extra cost to you. This support helps us maintain and grow our site. Thank you for your support!

Cars require a fair bit of regular maintenance, some of which can be unusual. For example, do you have to drain your car door?

Yes, you may have to drain your car door occasionally. Your car door has holes at the bottom that are meant to release any buildup of water and other fluids that might sneak their way into the inside of the door.

We’ll discuss your car doors and what maintenance they need, as well as how and why car drain doors work.

Table of Contents

Draining your car doors

This might be unexpected advice for some: you should clear your car door drains once in a while. Now, to be fair, you probably didn’t know your vehicle had drain holes in the bottoms of the doors because realistically, whoever looks under their car door to find them.

Well, your car doors do need to drain. Fortunately, most cars that have car door drain holes just do so naturally, so water and other fluids that come toward your car door exit through the car’s drain holes without you knowing.

Car door drain holes can get clogged

The largest issue you’ll experience with water and your car door is that you can get clogged drain holes. The holes that are located on the underside of your vehicle are relatively small holes. These can get gunked up by the same sap, debris, gravel, and whatever else that you might find on your car in the winter and fall when the leaves are falling and trees are producing the substance that turns into tasty maple syrup.

Too much junk down there makes for clogged drain holes, leading to a water build-up.

How does water get into my car door?

Water can run past window seals designed to keep water out - because unfortunately, they aren’t quite perfect. Those moments when you are sitting at a drive thru and have to have your window open briefly are opportune times for rain to slip by your rubber seals and down into the bottom part of the door.

How do I unclog my car's drain holes?

Thankfully the answer is rather easy: wash your car. Washing your car on a regulus basis has other advantages, including keeping your paint free of sap or other organic material, and doing a professional hand car wash in addition to a drive through car wash will help spray any salt that might build up over the winter off your chassis.

More specifically, we suggest spraying water underneath the door panels, and potentially getting all the way down so you can hand scrub the holes themselves - or ask your kids to do it! You could also use a screwdriver, coat hanger, or something small and sharp to scrape and poke junk out of there.

Other problems can include when only some of your car’s drain holes are clogged, resulting in having too few drain holes that are actually functioning.

One important thing to know: even if you request a professional detail or car cleaning, you should ask the detailers to clean the bottom of the doors. It’s not part of a typical detail routine - even a full one. This might cost you a few bucks, though it isn’t very much additional effort.

What can happen if I don’t clean and drain my car doors?

Especially in wet and humid environments, you might start to experience corrosion on the inside of your car door. Unfortunately, you might not ice this until your car door starts to sound unusual when you attempt to close or when rust spots start appearing on the inside part of the door.

When should I clean my drain holes?

We suggest cleaning your car doors and drain holes 2 to 3 times per year, and doing so right after fall when the leaves are down and sap is potentially at its highest build up. Simply making cleaning drain holes a habit most of the time when you wash your car is also a helpful routine to complete.

Do all cars have drain holes?

Not necessarily. The easiest way to check is to look at the underside of the door - you’ll visibly see drainage holes in the underside of the door.

Where are the drain holes on my vehicle?

One thing to know is that the drain holes can be on the bottom of the door, or on the inside bottom of the door - basically inside the car. Some might also have an actual cover so that the drain doesn’t work automatically. Fairly recently, TikTok influencers have made it a point to drain their car doors - and honestly, a lot of water came out. If you do have covers, you’ll want to take them off more frequently, especially after rain storms, because they can build up quickly!

How can I tell when I need to drain my car doors?

Unfortunately, noticing corrosion means that you are way too late. You are also unlikely to hear the sound of water sloshing around the inside of your car door. You might notice the feeling of additional weight just because water does weigh a significant amount.

Instead, if your car doors drain to require you to open them - do it at least four times per year, or after major rain storms. As the door membrane on your car doors wears down, there is a higher potential of more water leaking into your door.

Do rear doors have drain holes?

They likely do, and they are probably toward the rear quarter panels or on the inside or bottom of the door. Generally, these are above the rocker panels. In case you were wondering, yes, you should drain all your car door drain holes, especially later in the vehicle’s life when those rubber door seals might not be at their best.

Could I replace the door seals?

You could. You probably don’t need to bear the expense of paying for this repair instead of just ensuring the drain holes are open, available, and working. Still, you could if you want to avoid this task or have a hard time reaching the holes or you frequently get water inside of your vehicle.

Do You Have To Drain Your Car Door?

About The Author

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

Read More About Charles Redding