WeatherTech Side Window Deflectors Step-By-Step Install and Review For the 5th Gen 4Runner
The Airflow Problem
I’m not a neat freak by any means, but I hate the smell of lingering food from the night before. Imagine you had an unbelievably delicious take-out dinner, and then you smell the stale and perpetual aroma in the cab the next morning when you hop into your rig to go to work. Ugh…way to ruin your morning.
This was a problem I encountered many times during the pandemic of 2020 when restaurants were forced to close indoor dining and only offered carryout to stay afloat.
Cracking the windows open a bit helped, but when I park my rig outside, leaving windows open was not an option for both weatherproofing and security reasons. I tried to do my part to support my local restaurants, but the problem of lingering smell eventually killed my willingness to buy to-go food. I stopped spending money on to-go food until I found the solution: side window deflectors.
With these, I can leave a crack open on all four windows without worrying about rainwater entering the cab, or thieves seeing my partially opened window and attempt to open the doors from inside.
The Airflow Solution
WeatherTech is the biggest brand out there when it comes to weatherproofing accessories. Flashback to 2011 when I got my first car (a 1994 Jeep Cherokee) in Michigan, I knew I needed something to keep my carpeted floors clean. WeatherTech was the first brand I found, and I outfitted my Jeep with WeatherTech floor liners all around. That set of WeatherTech withstood the rain, snow, and mud like a champ! Since then, I have been a loyal customer of WeatherTech and bought WeatherTech products for every vehicle I owned.
In addition to brand loyalty, WeatherTech also checked the following boxes on my list of required features:
- In-channel installation
- Minimum to no double-sided adhesive required
- Easy to install
Find it online:
- WeatherTech Side Window Deflectors: Check Price
These deflectors are shipped in gigantic boxes and taped to the cardboard to secure the products do not move during the transportation process. Upon inspection, these deflectors seem and feel sturdy enough that they will outlast the vehicle. In addition, there are labels on the deflectors reminding the installer to read the manual before actual installation as well as part numbers. The front pairs have WeatherTech stickers on them toward the B-pillar position, while the rears have double-sided tapes pre-applied. Even though there is no indication of passenger and driver side, there is no way to mix them up because they only go in one way.
Note: The packaging of your product may be different from the photo.
I strongly recommend watching the WeatherTech installation video before you start. You can find the video here. For visual learners, the video provides general guidance on how to install these deflectors. However, WeatherTech does not provide detailed installation instructions for the 5th Gen 4Runner, so follow the steps I took below.
Step 1. Prep and Wash 4Runner
I started with washing my vehicle thoroughly. I had just come back from a weekend camping trip and my vehicle was caked in dust, so a complete rinse and wash are recommended. This way, not only you will have a clean vehicle to work on, but also will help to get a clean install. If you don’t know how to handwash your 4Runner, you can read about how Steve does it utilizing the 2-bucket method.
Pay special attention to the channels of your windows, especially you drive with windows down a lot, or you drive behind your friends on the trail a lot. I used a clean damp rag and wiped the inside of the channels a couple of times to wipe off the trapped dirt, then I used the included alcohol wipe to run through the channels once before proceeding to the next step.
Step 2. Roll Down Windows
Start by rolling down your windows all the way down. Then, push the forward end of the deflector into the channel toward your side mirror. Do not insert the whole deflector in yet, just the vertical part of the deflector next to the mirror. Make sure the deflector is sitting on top of the weatherstrip and not inside the channel.
Step 3. Insert Rear (B-pillar) Into Channel
Once that end is inside the vertical channel, bow the deflector toward you to create tension and slip the rear (B-pillar) end into the B-pillar vertical channel. Leave about ½ inch between the channel and the deflector.
Take your time and use patience; rushing it will break the tabs of your brand-new deflectors.
Step 4. Insert Deflectors Into Window Channel
Going back to the front (A-pillar) end and work toward the rear, slowly twist and insert the deflector into the window channel. Be sure to gently apply pressure from inside out to help keep the deflector sit properly in the channel.
Step 5. Install Rear Window Deflectors
Now it is time to move to the rear. For some reason, the rears were a lot easier to install than the front. Start by peeling off the backing on the pre-applied adhesive; be careful not to touch the double-sided tape after the backing is removed.
Insert the rear end of the deflector into the window channel and then turn it at a slight angle, then insert the front end of the deflector into the frontal window channel. This should create something that looks like a slash.
Straighten the deflector and slowly push it up into the top window channel. When it is all the way up, apply slight pressure from inside with your fingertips to help set the adhesive correctly inside the channel.
Step 6. Apply Pressure To Deflectors
You are almost there! You can roll up the window now. Apply slight outward pressure on the deflectors as the windows are rolling up; this will help seat the window and deflector into the channel. You only need to do this for the first time you roll up the window after installation.
Finally, leave the windows closed for 12 hours for the deflectors to “get used to” the shape of your window channel and you are set!
Let me just start by saying that these are pretty to install if you can get the angles right. If you had prior experience with other types of in-channel deflectors, the installation process is probably similar if not entirely the same. One thing to note is to be extremely careful and patient when installing the front; if it does not feel like it is going into the channel, do not force it. The edge that goes into the channel (I think it is called flanges) is thin and forcing them into the window channel will break them.
Driving around with these deflectors proves they are more useful than simply a cover for you to crack your window open. During afternoon hours when the sun is setting, these deflectors will block off some of the glare from the setting sun under a certain direction that you are driving to. At night, these do block off some of the streetlights coming from above, but that is not really a safety hazard and just needs a couple of days to get used to.
Operating the windows with these deflectors will also take some time for the window motor to adjust to as well. I noticed that the first few times that I roll the windows up, it felt like something was getting in the way for the windows to go all the way up. If your window stops rolling up, just roll it back down and try again. Usually, the window regulars learn to operate normally with the deflector inside the channel after a few tries.
With so many brands of side window deflectors out there, I chose WeatherTech because they are a big brand and I have had nothing but good experiences with their products. I did a couple of camping trips and day trips through some rough environments with these deflectors installed, and so far, these are still holding well. I have also sprayed them using a pressure washer during car washes, and the tension keeps them where they are supposed to be.
Although it took me some time to get used to having them, I think this is a good investment for those who are looking for quality products that allow them to crack open their window during the day to air out their rigs.