Driving your car, everything is going smoothly. Then it begins to rain. Your automobile starts to splutter and cough the next thing you know. What is happening?
This can happen for a number of reasons, but the most common cause is water getting into the gas tank. This happens more often than you might think. How does water get into the fuel tank? It comes from condensation in the engine and from leaks in the fuel system.
When heated air collides with a cold surface, condensation occurs. As warm air enters your vehicle's engine, it meets up with cold metal surfaces like water jackets and cylinder heads. This causes some of the water to condense into droplets, which then drip onto other parts of the engine.
These drops land in places where they can easily find their way into your fuel system: under the valve covers which are located directly above the cylinders, inside the air intake manifold, or even behind other components, such as an exhaust manifold.
If you've recently driven your car and it suddenly sputtered, died, or stalled, don't panic! Several factors could be the root of this behavior, including:
Clogged Air Filter
The air filter is a mesh device that cleans the air that flows through your exhaust system and into your engine. It keeps dirt and other particles from entering the engine, which can cause damage to its internal components.
When the air filter becomes clogged with dust or dirt, it reduces the amount of air entering your engine. As a result, power and fuel efficiency may suffer. If you start to notice a loss of power or poor performance, check your air filter to see if it needs changing.
Clogged Fuel Filter
The fuel filter keeps your engine running smoothly by filtering out dirt and debris from the gas before it enters the intake manifold. Over time, this filter may become clogged with dirt and debris and need to be replaced. When the fuel filter is clogged, it can cause your car to run poorly or not at all. If you notice that your car sputters or hesitates after driving through a large puddle or when driving in heavy rain, this could be an indication that your fuel filter needs replacing.
To check for a clogged fuel filter, locate the filter in your engine compartment or under the hood of your vehicle. You may need access to a jack and jack stands so you don't risk injury by crawling under the car to do this job yourself.
Spark Plugs Issues
Spark plugs are responsible for igniting fuel in the engine and creating a combustion reaction. If they're not working properly, your engine will have trouble getting started after it's been sitting for a few hours or if you've come in from the cold.
Spark plugs wear out over time, so it's important to get them replaced once they reach their lifespan. This can happen anywhere from 40,000 miles to 100,000 miles depending on how much you drive and whether or not you let your car idle too long at stoplights. You also should replace them if you see signs of wear on the electrodes — this includes pitting and corrosion.
Fuel Pump Failing
The fuel pump works to supply fuel to the engine by moving it from the gas tank to the engine. When water gets into the gas tank, it can cause corrosion of metal parts inside the fuel pump. This corrosion can cause the pump to fail.
The best way to prevent this type of failure is to keep your gas tank full at all times so that there is no room for water to get inside. However, if you do get water in your tank, take your car to a mechanic immediately so they can clean out any water that may be present and check for other problems with your vehicle.
Distributor Cap and Rotor
The distributor cap and rotor are responsible for distributing the spark to the spark plugs. If these components are not working properly, it can cause the car to sputter and misfire after heavy rain. The reason this happens is that the water seeps into the distributor cap and rotor, causing them to rust. When this happens, they can no longer distribute power properly, which causes your car to misfire.
When replacing your distributor cap and rotor, be sure to follow the manufacturer's recommendations for torque specifications and thread-locker use. Otherwise, you may end up damaging your new parts or creating another problem like an oil leak.
Faulty Ignition Coil
The ignition coil can be considered the heart of your car's ignition system. It is responsible for supplying the voltage and current that is required to ignite fuel in your engine's cylinders. The voltage and current are generated by an electrical current flowing through the coil's primary winding.
The most common symptom of a bad ignition coil is an engine that starts and runs fine but then starts sputtering after driving in heavy rain or standing water. This is because moisture gets into the distributor cap and causes corrosion inside the cap and on the points where electricity passes through.
The weather plays an important factor in your vehicle's performance. When a storm hits, it's always a good idea to check your vehicle for any damage. This is especially true if you live in an area that experiences frequent flooding or high winds.
If you feel that you are experiencing a problem with your vehicle after a significant rain event, schedule an appointment to have it checked by a mechanic. The mechanic will inspect it and let you know if any problems were found. Get that car looked at as soon as possible to avoid any major issues.
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