If you ever got caught up in a flood or drive through water high enough then you may not be able to start your car thereafter.
This may be because the car starter is wet but this is one of the several possible reasons why the car may not be able to crank and turn over.
What shows that the car starter is wet? Can a car starter get damaged? Can it be repaired?
There are probably many questions going through your mind.
Fortunately, there are a few things you may be able to do (before you arrange for the car to be towed to an auto repair shop) to get your car working again!
So, read on for what signs show that a car starter is wet and what you can do to get the car starting again.
Note: Do not hesitate at any point to contact a qualified auto mechanic.
Can Water Damage a Car Starter?
Yes, water can damage a car’s starter though this is not always the case. Sometimes, you’re lucky and may be able to start the car normally once the water has drained out.
Why a Car Fails to Start
The starter can be damaged when water shorts out and damages the starter solenoid.
You may also have sand, silt, or mud clogging up the starter.
In addition, the contacts and wiring may be corroded leading to poor contacts and wire connections that then stop the car from starting.
Signs a Car Starter is Wet
While a car failing to start after driving through is not confirmation that the car starter is wet or damaged it is one of the possible causes.
In addition to the car engine failing to turn over, when you switch on the ignition, you might be met with:
- dead silence – with no click. The starter motor does not even make a whirring sound ( confirmation that it’s engaging).
In other cases, the solenoid click may be heard but with no cranking and turning over of the engine!
Car Starter is Wet? – What to Do
This depends on several factors especially how much water the car has been exposed to and for how long.
In several cases, you may need to arrange for a tow and a qualified mechanic as there’s water in the spark plugs, air intake, the exhaust in addition to the starter.
Leave the Car to Dry out Overnight
In less severe cases, leaving the water to drain out overnight or longer can help. You may also need to manually dry out the starter.
Drying the Car Starter manually
You need to access the car starter to dry it out properly. How you access it varies from car to car but in general, you will be able to access it from the underside of the engine between the engine and the transmission.
Consult your vehicle’s repair manual to confirm the actual starter position.
1. Remove the starter (or get a qualified mechanic) to assist you and conduct a visual inspection of the starter.
2. It may need to be disassembled, and cleaned out to remove any dust or water that may have built up. There are no guarantees – this may work or not.
3. You can also get the starter tested at an auto repair shop that can advise you whether to rebuild or replace it with a new one.
Driving through high water levels risks getting your car starter wet which can stop your car engine from starting.
Leaving the car parked overnight to dry can work in some cases.
You can use compressed air to blow out water, silt, or sail that may be lodged in the starter before attempting to start the car again.
If none of these work, or you need urgent assistance then contact a qualified auto mechanic for help.