Rainy weather can be a nightmare for your vehicle. Water is the enemy of cars and trucks and can cause all sorts of problems if you don't take precautions against it.
Between the slippery roads, the limited visibility, and the risk of hydroplaning, it's easy to get freaked out while driving in wet conditions. Here are some of the most prevalent reasons why your car is at risk during rain or storm:
When water gets on your car, it starts rusting. The main reason cars are susceptible to rusting during rainy weather is that they're made out of metal, specifically steel, which reacts with oxygen from the air around them to form rust.
Rust doesn't just make your car look bad—it can damage the metal structure of your vehicle over time. Rust on exterior components like mirrors and bumpers can lead to expensive repairs or replacements.
If this happens, you could be faced with a 10% increase in insurance premiums because of the added risk of rusting parts on your car. The best way to prevent this is by regularly washing off dirt and debris before settling on metal surfaces.
One of the significant issues in the automotive industry is corrosion. It's estimated that over $276 is spent on corrosion repairs in America. Corrosion can happen at any time and is most common in areas with water or high humidity.
The corrosion begins when water molecules come into contact with metal, creating electrolytes (salt). These electrolytes then start to eat away at the metal, causing rust and other forms of damage. This process can lead to severe structural problems for your car if left unchecked.
To prevent corrosion in your vehicle, there are several steps you can take:
- Keep your windows rolled up when driving in the rain; this will minimize the amount of water that enters the open windows. Also, always keep the doors closed to avoid letting in excessive rainwater when you open them.
- If you're going to drive in the rain for an extended period (say more than 20 minutes), make sure your windows are rolled down enough so that water doesn't pool inside the cabin and start damaging parts of your vehicle, such as speaker covers or door panels.
Slipping and sliding on wet roads
If you're driving in heavy rain, you must be extra careful about hydroplaning. Hydroplaning happens when water accumulates between the tires and the road surface, creating less friction between them. This causes the car to lose traction with the ground and slide across the water with little control over its direction or speed.
That's why it takes longer to brake when it rains than when it's dry outside. If you hit a puddle while driving over 50 miles per hour, you could lose control of your vehicle and wind up spinning out of control or flipping over into another lane or off an embankment.
To avoid hydroplaning:
- Slow down! Don't drive faster than 50 mph when it's raining heavily or at night because these conditions increase the chance of hydroplaning.
- Use your brakes early and gently if you need to stop suddenly (don't slam on them). This will reduce pressure on your tires and help prevent skidding or hydroplaning.
- Drive in lanes with fewer cars. They'll make it easier for you to see potholes and other debris in the road ahead of time so you can steer around them safely.
The most common type of damage that occurs during a storm is flooding. Flooding is a primary concern for drivers. Flooding-related deaths hit a five-year high in 2021, as the National Weather Service reported. Reports show that 145 people died from flooding last year, an increase from the 59 flood-related deaths reported in 2020.
Water seeping into your engine compartment can cause electrical problems and ruin expensive parts, such as sensors, filters, and wiring. You can avoid this by keeping the area around your engine dry or parking in a garage when possible.
The first step to protecting your car from the perils of flooding is to understand what can happen. Below are four things you should know about flooding and its effect on your vehicle:
- Water can get inside your car's engine.
- Water can damage electrical systems in your car's engine bay.
- Flooded gasoline may start leaking out of your fuel tank and into your engine compartment, where it could come into contact with hot engine parts or spark an explosion that could cause severe injury or death to anyone nearby when it happens.
- It's vital to always keep your gas tank full or at least half full if you live in a flood-prone area so it doesn't run dry during a flood event and cause damage to your vehicle's fuel system.
Mold and mildew growth
It's a common misconception that your car is safe from mold and mildew in the rain. In fact, water can get into your vehicle through small cracks or leaks in the exterior. Once inside, these mold spores can grow on any surface that comes in contact with water—including your car seats.
Mold and mildew growth on upholstery can cause serious health problems for people allergic to these substances. It can also cause permanent damage to your vehicle's interior if left untreated.
It is important that you keep an eye on their health after a rainstorm if you have kids or pets in your house. If they show any signs of respiratory problems like coughing, wheezing, or sneezing after the rain, then there is a chance that they were exposed to mold spores while they were in your car.
Here are some efforts you can take to impede mold and mildew growth in your car:
- Keep your windows rolled up when it rains—even if you're driving slowly through a storm. This will prevent water from entering through air conditioning vents or door openings.
- Don't leave items like lunch bags, newspapers, and other damp objects in the back seat while driving through inclement weather conditions — they'll only add to the moisture levels inside your car. If possible, remove them before going out on your commute, so they don't get wet during your drive home.
Protect your car with ClimaGuard
In the end, the only tangible ways to avoid these problems are to either protect your car from the elements or take it in for routine repairs regularly.
If you need to protect your car from the rain, you can look for a car cover that will withstand the effects of water. ClimaGuard Temporary Protective Enclosure makes it easy to guard your car against rain and other extreme weather elements. Check out ClimaGuard's site for more information or to order a cover today.