Car Battery | Roadway Questions

Can My Car Battery Get Wet? 4 Things You Didn’t Know

Can My Car Battery Get Wet?

This is a reasonable question.  Afterall your car battery is kept warm and dry under the hood; so you may be concerned about introducing water to your car battery.  More than likely though, if your car battery gets wet you are more concerned about electrocuting yourself or causing catastrophic damage to your car’s electrical system.  Perhaps it’s pouring rain and you need to jump-start your car, and you are asking yourself, ‘can my car battery get wet?

The answer is …’YES’, your car battery can get wet.  You will not get electrocuted or melt the insides of your car if your battery gets wet.  Now, I am not saying that you should sink your car battery in a swimming pool or anything like that.  But if you have to jump-start your car in the rain you will be fine.  Please use common sense though and follow this guide in my article 4 dead car battery tricks.  Now, why can your car battery get wet?

Why Can My Car Battery Get Wet?

According to autobatteries.com the outside casing of a car battery is made of polypropylene resin.  This is a water-proof material that keeps the lead-acid and water inside your battery.  So, it stands to reason that water can not get into your battery if your battery is already holding water.  

This is not to say that your car battery is water-proof; it is water-resistant.  Areas around the terminals and lids where water can be added may be susceptible to having water leak inside the battery.  

By and large, a car battery can be exposed to water and not suffer damage.  Again I say though, that you DO NOT WANT TO SUBMERGE THE BATTERY.  That is bad and you will most likely need to replace the battery. 

So What Happens When A Car Battery Gets Wet?

Wait for it…nothing, nothing happens to a car battery when it gets wet, mostly.  The battery is a sealed unit and the terminals are made of lead which doesn’t rust.  Again, I am going to say this.  This statement does not qualify if a battery has been submerged.  

Insides of a car battery

To briefly explain what I have extrapolated from research.  A lead-acid battery as a mixture of sulphuric acid and water inside the casing.  There are some  plates inside, that do something (very scientific, I know.)  Anyway, the water inside dilutes the acid and the effectiveness of the battery is weakened.  Not to mention that the water will cause the plates to rust and then all sorts of bad things will happen. 

If you really want to know how a battery works check out the video below.  But you wanted to know if your car battery could get wet.

To summarize, if you have to jump-start your car using jumper cables or a battery booster pack you are going to be fine.  A little bit or even a lot of rain will not hurt your battery.  Which leads to our next question.

Can You Leave a Car Battery in the Rain?

I don’t know why you would want to unless it’s by accident.  This did happen to someone, he left it in the back of his truck and it rained on his battery.  After he dried it off and checked the charge, he was able to still use the battery.

Steady rain on an exposed battery may cause it to discharge.  I know I said that rain does not affect the performance of a battery and it doesn’t.  But leaving it out in the rain is different than leaving it out exposed in the pouring rain for a long period of time.  There are other environmental factors to consider.  Typically, a car battery is installed right away and this never is an issue.  

So can you leave a car battery in the rain? Technically, I guess so, would I recommend it? No.  The dampness from the rain could cause the battery to have a slow discharge which would not be good.  

Also, if the battery is stored somewhere the rain pools, then obviously, this too is bad.  Look, if you get a new battery just have it installed. Autozone will do it for free while your there.  The moral of the story is don’t leave your battery out in the rain.   However, sometimes it is unavoidable to have to get your car battery wet, what do you do then?

Can You Change A Battery in the Rain?

Yes, you can safely change a car battery in the rain.  You will not get electrocuted or shocked unless you do it on purpose.  What I mean by that is don’t complete the circuit by touching the two terminals together.  Other than the discomfort of getting wet while changing the battery in the rain, there is not much danger to you.

Just try to keep the area as dry as you can.  The moisture will corrode the battery terminals and connections over time. 

Can Water Ruin A Battery?

Well as we discussed already. It really depends on the situation.  A few raindrops on your car battery will not hurt it.  However, leaving your car battery out in the rain all night…may not be the best thing for it. 

Now many of you have car battery chargers.  Sometimes through no fault of our own, we have to charge a car battery in the rain.  Will water damage a car battery charger?

Will Water Damage My Car Battery Charger?

Typically, having an electronic device out in the rain or with the potential of getting wet is not a good idea.  This is very true of a car battery charger, water will certainly damage a car battery charger.  I do not leave my own battery charger out overnight and I definitely don’t leave it out during a rainstorm.

The battery charger has electronic components that do not like to get wet.  I have had to charge car batteries in the rain, it can be done.  There are just a few precautions that you need to take.

  1.  You are working with electricity.  Try not to have the plug or extension cord out in the rain or sitting in a puddle, that is inviting disaster.
  2. You are working with electronics.  Keep those dry too.  There are circuit boards inside the charger that do not like water.
  3. Keep under the hood as dry as you can.

What I used to do was pull the front of my car into a sheltered area and connect the charger.  After the charger was connected I would gently lower the hood.  This kept the area somewhat protected from the elements.

Final Thoughts…Is a Wet Battery Dangerous?

This question can not be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’.  I have worked with wet car batteries many times and nothing has ever happened.  With the proper safety precautions, you will be perfectly safe with a wet car battery.  The outside casing is plastic and the water rolls right off.  At most, there is a little bit of puddling on the top, nothing a towel or rad couldn’t take care of. 

However, there is the potential of shock should you connect the two battery terminals.  But you would have to do this on purpose.  So don’t do that!

Final note, wait until it is dry if you are uncomfortable with the situation or it is not an emergency situation. 

To summarize all of this; yes, your car battery can get wet. The battery is protected by a water-resistant casing. The moisture and humidity may cause corrosion on the terminals after lengthy exposure to wet conditions. You will not electrocute yourself unless you are trying. 

Safe travels…

Related Articles:

Bad Car Battery Vs. Alternator-4 Signs to Tell the Difference

References:

https://www.yourmechanic.com/question/water-was-spilled-in-the-trunk-which-soaked-the-car-battery-car-won-t-start-now-does-water-destroy-a-car-battery-by-gabe-m

https://itstillruns.com/can-heavy-rain-affect-car-battery-12245792.html

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