Can You Use Jumper Cables in the Rain? Should You?




Can you use jumper Cables in the rain?

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Being stranded because of a dead battery is bad enough…on a nice day. However, being stranded by a dead battery in inclement weather is like adding insult to injury.  So, can you jump start your car in the rain?

 Assuming you are reading this because you are concerned about getting electrocuted while jump-starting your car, you may cast your worries aside. Yes, you can safely jump start your car in the rain. The reason? There simply isn’t enough voltage in your car’s electrical system to result in electrocution.

Your vehicle’s electrical system is a 12-volt direct current (DC) system.  You are probably comparing your car to your house or apartment’s electrical system (which you can not get wet!).  In the United States, a home’s electrical uses a 110 or 220-volt alternating current (AC) system. This is like comparing apples and oranges.

So to reiterate, jump-starting your car in the rain is perfectly safe.  You may get soaking wet, and possibly catch a cold, but you should not get electrocuted by your car.

That being said there are some precautions that you need to keep in mind.

Do you want to avoid the hassles of jumper cables all together? Check out my article on the best battery booster pack for your car over here.

Precautions for jump-starting your car in the rain

While jump-starting your car in the rain is not ideal.  It is totally possible. Over here, we talk all about how to connect your battery when jump-starting your car.

These same procedures should be followed when jumpstarting your car in the rain.  This will ensure the safety of not only you. But also protect the vehicles that are involved in the jump-start.

The most important thing to keep in mind is your safety.  If at all possible, try to get your vehicle into a low traffic area.

If it is raining, chances are, the roads are slick and you need to be mindful of other drivers.  When jump-starting your car, you will be out and around your vehicle, watch out for other traffic

This goes doubly at night.  If you have flashers or warning signals, they should be put out to warn other drivers.

Also, try to keep as much under the hood as dry as you can.  Some water won’t hurt underneath, but there are a lot of sensitive electronics under the hood that should be protected.

A simple umbrella could help with this.  The hood of the car will protect some of the innards of the car; an umbrella will help with the rest. And it will keep you dry as well, for the most part.

The next biggest thing is making sure you connect the cables correctly.  This will cause far more damage than getting wet. 

So we have discussed that it is perfectly safe to jump-start your car while it is raining.  What about other types of weather?

LIGHTNING, Can you Jump-Start Your Car in a Thunderstorm?

Well, we have discussed jump-starting your car in a rainstorm, what about a more intense rain-storm, like a thunderstorm.

Thunderstorms add the element of lightning to the mix.  It is reasonable to get a little squirmy when you are already dealing with an electrical system.

So is it safe to jump-start a vehicle during a thunderstorm?  As far as the act of jump-starting the car, yes, it is safe.

But there are inherent dangers in simply being outside during a lightning storm. You all know the procedures.  Don’t stand in an open field, don’t stand under a tree.  

There is a danger in being out of doors during a lightning storm.  None of these will affect your jumping-starting a car.

However, speaking as a person who endures daily afternoon thunderstorms during the summer; my suggestion is to wait it out.

Thunderstorms usually pass in 30 minutes or so.  Just wait until the most severe part of the storm is over, then try to jump-start your car.

You will be dryer and you have lessened the likely-hood of being hit by lightning.

Can you Jump-Start a Wet Battery?

Alright, so you decided that you are going to attempt to jump-start your car in the rain.  You pop the hood and now it’s raining inside the engine compartment.

Is it safe to use jumper-cables on a wet battery?

Yes, it is safe, however, remove any excess water from the battery before you attempt to connect the jumper cables. Also, try to keep the battery as dry as possible, while you are trying to jump it.

While there is little danger to you.  There are still sensitive electronics in the engine compartment that don’t like the water so much.

An umbrella will go a long way in such a situation. Things are going to get wet, try your best to keep as dry as possible.

Is It Okay If  My Jumper Cables Wet?

Well, everything else is getting wet if you are trying to jump-start your car in the rain.  Is it okay if your jumper cables get wet, too?

Again, yes, but we need to qualify this statement.  If they do get wet, make sure they are dry before storing them.

The jumper cables are (or should be) mostly coated in rubber.  The water won’t penetrate the rubber. So this area is protected.

Even if there is an exposed area on the cables, you should be fine.  I wouldn’t touch that area and I would also wrap some electrical tape around it, as soon as possible.

The area that you need to be mostly concerned with are the clamps. This is the only area of exposed metal.  The clamps will corrode if they are stored away wet.

If the clamps start to corrode they will not function properly when you need them.  This will not happen instantaneously.  

So, if you need to use the jumper cables in the rain, you can.  Just be sure to properly dry and store them so they will be useful in the future.

Final Thoughts…

Can you use jumper cables in the rain? Yes, you can.

Just take normal precautionary measures to protect yourself and your car.  As far as getting electrocuted, you would really need to go out of your way for that to happen.

You don’t get to choose the weather you have an emergency in.  If you need to use your jumper cables in the rain, go for it.

Hopefully, you will never need to.
Safe travels… 

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