Although some areas see less rain throughout the year, rain is a universal weather condition, and every car in the world will see rain at some point. Most people see rain as harmless—it’s just water. However, have you ever asked yourself, “Is rain bad for my car?”
In some cases, rain can damage a vehicle, but which form that damage takes depends on the type and severity of the rain. Standard rainfall can damage both the exterior and interior of a vehicle, freezing rain can cause significant body damage, and flooding can potentially destroy a car for good.
Let’s continue to look at some of the different ways that rain can potentially damage your vehicle and what you can do to prevent it.
Can Rain Damage the Paint on My Car?
If you are one of the many people who do not wash their car during the rainy season because you believe nature is doing it for you, you might want to continue reading to learn more about the ways that rain can damage your cars’ paint.
First, rainwater is full of pollutants. Land water evaporates into vapor, which then condenses into small clusters of droplets. Once enough droplets have clustered, they form what we know as a raindrop. As that raindrop falls to earth, it becomes contaminated by the air. This type of rain is called acid rain, and when it dries on a vehicle, it produces watermarks.
PHILKOTSE offers a great guide explaining what acid rain is, and how to remove spots from the exterior of your car.
Now we know how falling rain can cause damage, but what about bouncing rain? That’s right, rain can bounce, but not in the way you might think. Raindrops splatter when they hit the ground and splash up onto the bottom of your car. If you live in an area with high salt contents (either from the ocean or manually put onto the road) the rain could be splattering your car with salt. Salt is most recognizable by the white film it leaves behind once the rain dries and can have a corrosive effect on your automobile.
Will Rain Remove Wax?
Car wax creates an environment where water collects into beads and runs off the vehicle. This helps to protect the clear coat of your car, which in turn will protect your vehicles’ paint. If the wax is applied properly, rain should not wash the wax off your vehicle, but it could reduce the lifespan of the wax.
Can I Wash My Car in the Rain?
People are constantly thinking up new ways to save money, and killing two birds with one stone (washing your car in the rain) could potentially save you money on your water bill, but is it a good idea?
While this practice might shave a few dollars from your monthly bills, the benefits do not seem to outweigh the risks. There are three reasons that you should reconsider washing your car in the rain. First, as mentioned before, rain is full of pollutants and could leave water spots behind when the water dries. Second, rain itself is not powerful enough to remove much of the dirt and grime that collects on the surface of a vehicle.
Finally, you must rinse a car off thoroughly when washing it to avoid shampoo drying onto and destroying the paint. Since most people cannot control the direction and flow of a rainstorm, there is a good chance you will not get all the soap off your vehicle when you wash it in the rain
Can Rain Damage the Interior of My Car?
Rain can in fact cause damage to the interior of your car if it finds a way into your vehicle. There are multiple ways that rainwater may enter your vehicle, but user error and leaks are the most common culprit. Water damage can include electrical problems, rust, mildew, and mold.
The switches that control the power windows and electric door locks and are not waterproof. It is normal for a little bit of water to get on those switches during a storm. However, prolonged exposure to water could cause immediate problems as well as corrosion later. The best way to avoid this is to keep windows closed and shut the door as quickly as possible when it is raining.
Water that finds its way into the inside of your car can also cause issues with interior rust. Seat tracks, hinges, and other metal pieces can become rusted and may eventually become inoperable. You can prevent this by being vigilant and removing water from these areas as quickly as possible. If rust has already occurred, you may apply a bit of lubricant to the area to keep pieces functional.
Interior mold and mildew are some of the most recognized signs of water damage to the interior of a car. Besides being unsightly, certain types of molds can threaten your health. This content is owned by moc.sotuaytsur. You can prevent mold and mildew by addressing wet areas in your car as quickly as possible.
How Can I Remove Mold from the Interior of My Car?
The best thing to do is to prevent mold from growing in the first place, but if you do notice an area in your vehicle where mold has begun growing, there are ways you can address it.
There are many products on the market that claim to remove mold from fabric and keep it from growing. Additionally, there are some DIY things you can try. Vinegar is said to be good at killing mold, and many DIY recipes combine the killing power of vinegar with the cleaning power of something like borax.
Maids.com offers a good list that includes five different ways you address mold in a non-toxic way.
Can Rain Damage the Engine?
Damp, rainy conditions can cause problems with both the engine and electrical systems in a car. Many issues are caused by users driving through standing water, which splashes or sucks water into the engine. Even small amounts of standing water can become a big problem.
When water gets into an engine, it can make the engine seize up, sparkplugs misfire, and belts slip. Other important components, such as piston connecting rods and valves may become damaged as well. Serious water destruction could result in you having to order and install a new engine, which can quickly become a financial drain.
The best way to prevent water damage of this type is to limit your driving in heavy rain conditions. Obviously, there will be times when this may not be possible, but when you must go out, try to avoid running your vehicle through spots where water has accumulated. If you must drive through accumulated water, try to position your vehicle so that it is as high out of the water as possible, drive slowly to avoid splashing, check the brakes and other systems to ensure everything is working properly afterward, and get to a spot where you can allow your vehicle to dry as soon as possible.
If you must drive through significant amounts of water, follow this handy guide from idrivesafely.
Will Insurance Companies Pay Out for Water Damage to A Car?
According to Car and Driver car insurance may be limited to when and how much it pays out for water damage. There are different levels of insurance to choose from when enrolling in an insurance plan, and whether your plan will cover water damage will depend on what type of insurance you buy.
Comprehensive coverage is an added coverage that you can add to your plan. It is a type of full coverage insurance. People who have comprehensive coverage typically have collision coverage as well. Comprehensive coverage typically covers water damage, but it may depend on how that water damage occurred as to whether a certain company will pay for repairs.
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John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. He’s been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and has worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Land Rover, and Jaguar dealerships.
John uses his know-how and experience to write fluff-free articles that help fellow gearheads with all aspects of vehicle ownership, including maintenance, repair, and troubleshooting.