January 15, 2021

The Secret to Installing a Locking Strip

One of the better innovations in weatherstripping of the 1970’s is the locking strip. Anything to make the job of installing glass into a vehicle easier was a welcome change in the automotive industry.

A locking strip is simply that- a small, narrow strip of rubber that inserts into a groove in a gasket, locking the gasket tight around the glass. Sounds simple enough, right? Well the concept is, yes. But the installation can be tricky.

When I say these things lock in tight, I mean TIGHT. You’re pushing rubber into rubber into a very tight space and it can be hard and frustrating. That’s why we’ve gathered up these helpful tips to take the frustration away and help you do it right the first time…. And without losing your mind.

Tip 1: Lubricate. We suggest plain old regular dish soap and water. Its slippery, non-toxic and evaporates away over time. Apply it liberally to the locking strip and in the groove in the gasket itself and it should slide right in.

Tip 2: Start in the right location. Start in the bottom middle of the glass you’re working on and work your way around to the other side. 

Tip 3: Cut the locking strip a little long. When you get to the end of your installation and it’s time to trim off the length at the end, trim it a half inch or so too long. Install the very end into the groove, right up against the starting end and then work the extra back into the gasket. This will prevent any kind of gap in the locking strip now and in the future in the case of any shrinkage.

Tip 4: Use a locking strip tool. These specialty tools are affordable and great to aid in this process. You insert the locking strip through the small hole in the tool. Then you run the tool through the groove in the gasket. It holds the groove open while feeding the locking strip down into it. It still requires some lubrication and elbow grease on your part but makes a much easier time of the job. We sell 2 different types:

I hope these tips help you with your next locking strip installation project. For more information about  locking strip type seals, check out our article How to Install a Locking Strip Type Gasket or the video below on our YouTube Channel.

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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