2008 Scion xD – How to find and clear a clog in the evaporator drain hose

Tools Required:

  • Wire coat hanger
  • Shears/bolt cutter
  • Metal file
  • OR – A can of compressed air
  • A bowl (optional)

One day while driving I noticed that when I made left turns, the sound of rushing water was coming from the air vents.  I thought it was odd and that it would clear itself up but the problem only got worse…eventually water started leaking from below the glovebox, the carpets were perpetually wet and one time I got sprayed in the face by water coming from the vents themselves.

If you are experiencing any of these problems, you might have a clogged drain hose.  Ordinarily the drain hose channels condensation out of your system and dumps it on the street but if something gums up the hose then this water has noplace to go.  It will build up in your evaporator, overflow and you’ll start seeing water saturate all sorts of weird places.

Here’s how to unclog it:

The hose exits the vehicle on the passenger side of the car, under the carpet beneath the glovebox.  Look under the glovebox for where the carpet ends (the upholstery in this car is disappointingly crap for something that MSRP’d at $20k).  Pull the carpet down towards you; it’s held in only by a small piece of Velcro and will pull back easily.

Now look at the floorboard you just revealed.  A small rubber hose will run from the center console at the left to the floorboard.  We don’t need or want to take the entire hose off, just remove the part sticking through the floorboard by pinching two sides and pulling it out of the floor.  It is a thin rubber hose and the grommet is very delicate so don’t just yank or rip it out.

With the hose removed from the floorboard, you can either lightly blow some compressed air up the hose to try to dislodge the clog, or you can untwist the coat hanger and straighten it out.  Use your cutters to cut off the squiggly or sharp ends of the hanger and use the file to dull down the ends of the hanger.  We don’t want the end to be sharp or we run the risk of poking a hole through the hose.  Once it’s straightened and dulled on the ends, bend the hanger in a soft curve and feed it up the hose.

Once you’ve inserted it the length of the hose you’ll encounter some resistance at the end.  Get ready to open the floodgates– poke around at it softly to free up whatever’s clogging the hose.  If you did it right, water should start flowing freely through the hose so jam the nozzle back through the hole in the floorboard to let the A/C drain out onto the garage floor or street.  Here’s where the bowl comes in; toss it under the car where the water is draining from.

Remove the hanger, properly reinsert the nozzle back into the floorboard and put the carpet back.


  1. Nice tip. Same mechanics for a 2010 XD. Only thing I did differently is after poking around for a bit and getting only a small trickle back, I took a can of compressed air and blew it up the hose. This really opened the blockage. I also diverted the water flow into a large shallow bowl so I could see the crud coming out.

  2. Wanted to let you know that thanks to you, I fixed this problem in my XD. I did exactly what you suggested, and it worked like a charm!

  3. 08 scion xd

    I took off the hose on the left passenger side
    and no water came out, I also saw a hose on the right side and both hoses were dry but I still get water, Urrhh HELP!!!


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