It is Bad to leave your car in the rain for a long time? In this short article, I’ll be giving you all the information you need to know.
Is it bad to leave your car in the rain? The answer is: yes, no, maybe. It all depends on the circumstance.
While nothing is inherently wrong with leaving your car in the rain, the way it can affect your vehicle can be detrimental. It doesn’t take much to find out if you should leave your vehicle parked in the rain. To help you protect your investment from costly repairs, we’ve got all the answers you need.
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Does Rain Damage Your Car?
Rain can cause all sorts of damage to your car, especially to the paint job. But aside from the aesthetics, does rain actually damage your car? If so, what should you look out for?
Rainwater Can Damage Paint
Every time it rains, a car’s paint job is at risk of being damaged by corrosive rainwater.
Rainwater contains minerals and chemicals, making it acidic. When water dries on the surface of a vehicle’s paint job, the water evaporates leaving behind a white residue of minerals and chemicals that ends up destroying the clear coat. This is especially true during the winter when rainwater often contains salt.
Rainwater Can Cause Rust
Many people don’t realize that rainwater can cause car rust. The answer is yes. Rainwater is not pure H2O, it contains dissolved minerals and other chemicals in it. When water sits on a surface for long periods of time, those minerals begin to eat away at the paint and metal itself. Rainwater is especially acidic if it contains chemicals like sulfur dioxide or nitric acid. Rain damage will often start as bubbles under the paint’s surface. Once these bubbles pop and expose bare metal, rust begins to set in quickly.
If your vehicle is subject to rusting, leaving it out in the rain will speed up the process. Once this cycle starts, it just keeps going until all of the iron has been converted into iron oxide. This is where rust comes from. The longer you leave your car out in the rain without washing off any accumulated water and moisture, the more likely it is that rust will form.
The good news is that, generally, modern cars are typically built with corrosion protection in mind. The most important thing is to keep your car clean.
Since rust is caused by a chemical reaction between iron (or steel), oxygen, and water, you’ll need all three to create a problem. If there isn’t enough moisture for the water to evaporate out of the environment or off of your vehicle, then you’re likely to see rust develop over time. This is why it’s crucial to dry your car after washing it, as well as during rainy weather.
See Also: How Often Should You Wash Your Lexus NX?
Rainwater Can Affect Electrical Components
Rainwater can also affect electrical components in your car, including headlights and windshield wipers.
Water conducts electricity, meaning that if water leaks into some part of your electrical system, you could face serious issues with lights or wipers not working properly anymore. Aside from rainwater leaking in through door seals or windows, moisture can also build up when a car isn’t driven in a long time because there’s no movement of air around the lights or wiper blades.
Rainwater Can Cause Mold
Another problem with leaving your car outside in the rain is that water could get into your vehicle’s interior and cause mold and mildew to grow.
Now you might be thinking that if you leave your windows open a little that would prevent water from getting inside, but in most cases, that actually makes things worse. Most cars are designed to keep water out of the interior so leaving your windows cracked open only makes it easier for water to get inside.
If you must park in the rain for more than a couple of hours make sure your windows are completely rolled up and use a rubber cover or tarp over porous materials like fabric seats and carpeting.
Rainwater Can Damage The Engine
Standing water above a certain height can damage the engine. What they call “depth ratings” on vehicles refers to how deep of water the vehicle can drive through without stalling.
This is not how deep the water can be before damaging the engine, however. That said, since modern cars have their air intakes much higher up than older models, you would have to be driving through some pretty deep water for this to happen. But it’s something to keep in mind if you live in an area prone to flooding.
If You Must Leave Your Car In The Rain
If you have no alternative but to leave your car in the rain, here are some tips to avoid damage:
Don’t leave the windows open: Even if you think leaving your windows slightly open will help prevent mold from growing inside your car, it’s best to keep them closed. This is because rainwater can seep into small openings, and if your car door seals and window seals aren’t good enough, water might enter inside and do damage to the interiors. Also, if there’s a strong wind during a rainstorm, water might be blown inside the car through these small openings.
Don’t park under trees: Trees can cause damage in two ways when it rains — one is that branches might fall on your car and dent it; the other is that tree sap can drop on your car and ruin the paint job. If you have no choice but to park under a tree, make sure you wash off any sap that falls on your vehicle as soon as possible.
Use a car cover. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. A simple tarp or old blanket will do the trick, provided it’s large enough. Just remember that tarps can get heavy when wet, so make sure they are fully dry before removing them from your vehicle (and always use something underneath).
If you have a carport or garage, it’s best to store your vehicle there. Even if you have to park in the yard, find a spot under a tree or other covering to avoid the worst of the rain. If that’s not possible, try to avoid leaving your car in the rain for too long.
Don’t forget to wax your car regularly. Applying wax will prevent rain from soaking into your car’s paint. When it rains often in your area and you need to park outside, waxing really is necessary.
If you can’t control the weather, then at least work on preventing some of its effects on your car.
So, after a heavy rainstorm or flood, should you hop in your car and head to work?
If you can avoid it, the answer is probably no.
If your car has stalled or been submerged in water, avoid driving it until you have it checked out by a mechanic. Water can damage the engine and transmission and cause other problems.
But even if your car runs fine right after a storm, that doesn’t mean it’s good to go. Experts say that the moisture on the outside of your vehicle can seep into the more vulnerable parts of your car and cause rusting over time. And if your brake pads get wet, they may not work as well.
As much as possible, avoid parking in the rain for more than an hour. The longer you leave your car exposed to rain and humidity, the higher the chances of damage.
It’s dusty, dangerous, and potentially costly to leave your car out in the rain for a long time. If you are unsure of whether or not it’s too dangerous to leave your vehicle in the rain, ask yourself if the value of the car is more important than your safety. It really does depend on how strong a relationship you have with that car.