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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I've had my 2012 car since 2016 and should've joined this forum years ago.
It has about 58,000 miles.
I've had the usual problems: drained car key battery, new battery installed roadside by AAA,
learning that if the gas tank empties putting gas in isn't sufficient: a code needs to be reset.

I'm embarrassed to say I don't have a designated mechanic yet (and haven't learned as much about the car as I should) and now I have a scary problem that I want to know more about before I take it somewhere.
I need to search through the discussions to see if there is already a relevant thread but for now, I'm posting here as a new member. Maybe someone knows something.

The problem is this -
I thought I needed a new battery but the AAA guy said it was simply low and I should just run it for at least 15 minutes. He drove away and I started hearing scary intermittent crackling sounds in the ceiling. I imagined being blown up but stayed for over 15 minutes. When I turned it off, the crackling continued! The remote lock did work.

I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area and most people know from the news, we've had tremendous rain for the past few weeks. (I'm not in any of the areas of devastation.)
Last week, or maybe even before the heavy rain, the water accumulation on the inside windshield was so thick that I had to use paper towels; the defroster seemed to not be working.
Several days later the radio stopped working. I googled and found a post somewhere about water getting in and affecting the radio and navigation controls.
(Jeez, how on earth does water 'get in'?!)
Now I'm wondering if water could've caused whatever this is.
The AAA guy said the battery can be drained by my leaving the phone charge cord plugged in, but I've always done that, and I just drove the car the other day.

I'd appreciate any suggestions while I search the site.
 

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2016 Blue Lexus CT200h F-Sport
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Is the sunroof leaking? Was the windshield replaced at some point? If it's hard for water to get in, it's just as hard for it to get back out again. If water has gotten in and is shorting out things, it will drain the batter. Hopefully, things will naturally restore back to normal with drying time. Maybe something has failed with the windshield seal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. So, shorting things out can drain the battery. That makes sense.
It seems too much of a coincidence for it to be an electrical problem from something other than rain. I just hope there is no irreparable damage.
No, the windshield has never been replaced and I haven’t opened the sunroof in a long time. But given the amount of condensation--much worse some days-- it is clear that there is a moisture problem. Unfortunately, we’re to have more rain for ten days so no drying out time.
I’m going to call a well-reviewed foreign car repair place in Berkeley tomorrow morning and ask questions and what can they do about it, and if it is safe to drive with the scary crackling sounds the eight miles to their shop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Someone posted a video of his CT where (rain)water was getting in from behind the taillight and bumper. Maybe it's similar to your moisture problem.

OMG thank you so much!! I just saw this half an hour ago, watched the video, and then went out to the car to start it. Having seen the video, I thought to look in the hatch and the back seat and ... groan, about 3" of standing water on the floor behind the passenger seat. I would never have thought to look there otherwise.
I was told by a mechanic to take it to the dealer, so I just called and am waiting for AAA to have it towed.
:-(
 

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Lexus CT200h Business Line Pro , 2011, Tungsten Pearl
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Good to hear, well not good really:confused: but even if this is not the cause for the moisture problem in your car, standing water IN the car is never good....

You say the water is behind the passenger seat? Do you mean the front passenger seat or the back seat?
I now will check my car too tomorrow eventhough I don't have a moisture or condensation problem but better safe than sorry :)

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I then saw that there was some, but not as much, water on the floor in front of the passenger side *covered by my empty grocery bags), as well as behind it. I park it on a curb so it tilts to the passenger side.

So, so far, $130 - AAA $13x10 extra miles to tow to the dealer,
$461- for diagnostics assuming they can find the source of the leak within a few hours and determine the damage.
“It could be a thousand, but I’ve seen up to $10K,” the guy said.
$38 - Lyft home because there were no loaner cars available. :-(

Yes, everyone should pay close attention, especially if no garage.
Had I known this was even possible, I’d have taken it in right away when I saw the condensation and
certainly when the radio failed. I told myself it was humidity and never thought to inspect the whole of the inside.
The rain has been very heavy for many days and I’ve been so relieved to not live in any of the flooding areas all around me. It just never occurred to me that rain could get in without windows being left open or driving through a flooded area.
 

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Lexus CT200h Business Line Pro , 2011, Tungsten Pearl
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Just an update, I checked the trunk in my car and luckily it was dry! So fortunately there is no water coming in as in the video. But it's crazy that from all the possible leaks, your car had exactly the same leak as the one in that video...

Hope you can get your car fixed for way less than “It could be a thousand, but I’ve seen up to $10K,” :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Glad to hear all was dry!
“Crazy all the possible leaks” - yes and from what I’ve learned, checking all the possibilities (and symptoms) is something we must be aware of and stay on top of.

Mine turned out to be what I now know is the rather common problem of blockage in the sunroof drain tubes.
Only one was blocked and it turns out that it is an easy fix that one can even DIY.
They found no electrical damage and a slew of standard inspection line items passed - but I was offered no explanation of why the radio stopped working and the crackling in the ceiling.

BUT … the problem is MOLD .. especially since water first got in up to three weeks ago, at the beginning of the relentless pounding rain we’ve had (SF Bay Area).

The Lexus Marin estimate was $9,800!
They have to pull apart everything and maybe replace all the carpet and foam and decontaminate.
(They sucked out some but not all of the water and did unblock the tube)
Other sources confirm that this is indeed what needs to be done.
Mold, of course, can be deadly.

I’ve read that in most cases, since the cost of such repairs simply cannot be done for less than an exorbitant price, cars are usually just totaled.

To my horror, I found that my downgraded insurance (with the unmet intention of reviewing it months later) when I was driving very little during the lockdown, no longer includes comprehensive coverage. (But a news item reported that only a third of Bay Area residents have comprehensive, so I feel slightly-only-slightly less stupid.)

To compound all of this, the autobody shops all around the Bay Area are overwhelmed with not only damage from water, but from fallen trees and the like and are booked for weeks if not months.

I did what Art’s Auto in Berkeley suggested:
it may indeed be bad and a total loss, BUT maybe not AS bad as reported (“dealerships like to throw the kitchen sink at everything”) so get it home, dry it out and go from there."
I know that there are a number of active things (beyond passive sunshine) that can be done-- wet vac, high-powered dryer, disinfectant, etc. but I don’t have a garage (which is why it has been out in the rain), and I am not equipped to do any of that.

I’m going to call around and see if anyone specializes in just that step … detailers can only do so much.
It is heartbreaking because I love the car and it has only 58,000 miles.

I’ve looked through the discussions on this forum and don’t see anything about mold recovery so may start a new discussion, if only to be informative, although most people here seem to be quite familiar with basic maintenance.

The first red flag that I didn’t see as such, was a puzzling amount of condensation on the inside of the windshield one cold morning. Other nearby cars looked the same from the outside so I assumed it was a freak thing. The next time I got in the car many days later, it was almost as bad
--enough to buy paper towels-- but still didn’t register as something major.
A week later the radio and navigation didn’t work so I did google it and found the discussion in this forum-- the answer was ‘moisture got in and it was fine after it dried out.
The next time was the failed battery as described in my original post, the day before I saw all the water on the floor after viewing the video above.
I had such a dearth of knowledge that I couldn’t put it all together.

Anyone with a functional olfaction system would’ve noticed a bad smell, but I am anosmic--can’t smell-- so I had no idea. And unlike with my prior much-loved BMW, in six years I’d taken it only for oil changes and no regular checkups, and Covid, of course, and driving very little, just exacerbated that ‘neglect’). I thought it might be overdue for some new belts and the like, but I knew nothing of drainage tubes (duh…). My BMW mechanic (in another city) must’ve just checked everything without feeling the need to explain drain tubes.
 
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