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November 25, 2020

The Dollar Bill Weatherstripping Test

How can you tell when your seals aren’t doing their job? Well, there’s the obvious ways, of course, like wet carpet in the trunk or wicked wind noise coming in the doors, but what if you want to be more proactive than that? That’s where the dollar bill test comes in.

This test is used to diagnose those areas of your vehicle that aren’t sealing correctly. You can use it on trunk seals and door seals or anywhere you have squishy sponge rubber that seals against metal. It’s a simple and quick process that’s accurate and requires no special equipment.

How to perform the dollar bill test:

Step 1: Open the door/trunk

Step 2: Take your dollar bill and place it part way across the seal and close the door. Make sure you leave enough of the bill showing so you can get a good grip on it for the test.

Step 3: Try to slowly and evenly pull the dollar bill out. (Please don’t rip it. The bank will be upset with us and no one here is gonna replace it.) If it won’t move at all or only moves with a solid, firm pull, the seal is great in that spot and doing its job. However, if when you pull on the bill you don’t feel any real resistance, odds are you’ve found a weak spot in the seal.

Step 4: Repeat this procedure in various areas around the seal. Just because it’s sealing well in one place doesn’t mean that it’s sealing well all the way around. Multiple trouble areas can indicate a failing seal. If so, it’s probably best to replace the seal altogether.

Once you’ve done the dollar bill test and found your trouble areas, now you can determine what the issue is that’s preventing it from sealing:

  • Old, hardened seal with no squish factor- replace the seal
  • Seal has shrunken or didn’t fit correctly in the first place- replace the seal
  • The door or trunk lid is misaligned- take a deeper look into that and make the necessary repairs

The dollar bill test is an easy way to ensure that your weatherstripping is in good shape and doing its job to protect your investment in your favorite ride.

Steele not only has all the products you need but all the knowledge you need to get the job done right, too. If you have questions about Rubber Parts or Weatherstripping on your Classic Car, Truck, Hot Rod or even your boat, trailer or RV, feel free to reach out to us! You can call us at 800-650-4482, contact us through our website or comment on this post and we’ll get you answers as quickly as possible. Check out our YouTube channel for our full library of how-to/installation videos.

Steele Rubber Products, located in Denver, NC, is a manufacturer and seller of high-quality rubber parts and weatherstripping products for classic and vintage automobiles, hot rods, RVs and Boats. Steele offers more than 12,000 parts for cars and trucks as well as a large line of universal weatherstripping and rubber parts to be used on any project. Established in 1958, Steele is a trusted name in the automotive restoration industry. 

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