How Can Moisture Get Into an Ignition System?

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All ignition systems use electricity to crank and run the engine. This is true whether you have a conventional, electronic, or distributor-less ignition system. Water is the enemy of electricity and if it intrudes into the ignition system, it can cause serious problems, including the inability to crank the car.

How does moisture get into an ignition system?

  • Leaking Seals: Some cars have deep tubes that the spark plugs sit in. The wires are equipped with seals that sit over the openings of the tubes, but if that seal is damaged (cracked, cut, worn, etc.), moisture may be able to enter the tube.

  • Frayed or Damaged Wires: Many cars have exposed spark plug wires. This is fine during normal operation, but if the wire’s plastic covering is damaged, it can expose the wire itself. In this instance, even high humidity may be enough for moisture to accumulate on the wire.

  • Damaged Distributor Cap: If your car uses a distributor, the cap may be damaged. These are made from plastic, and can oxidize and crack as they become brittle over time. The cap is designed to protect the rotor from moisture and debris, but if it is damaged, moisture may enter the system.

  • Splashed Ignition Control Module: On modern cars, the ignition control module is usually in the cabin, but on older models, it was located under the hood. Moisture could easily contact the connector and the module when driving through deep puddles, or even washing the engine.

If your ignition system has moisture in it, the car will not start. The system will need to be completely dried before it will operate again. In addition, it’s possible for water intrusion to create a short in the system that may damage components.


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Eladio

8 years of experience
128 reviews
Eladio
8 years of experience
Honda Civic - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Greensboro, North Carolina
Eladio arrived at the scheduled time and was great to work with. He was very professional and I am very satisfied with his work. This was my first time using YourMechanic and I am very pleased with how easy and convenient this service has been from start to finish. Definitely would recommend.
Nissan Altima - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Greensboro, North Carolina
Eladio was on time, expedient, and very professional. Very pleased with provided service (brake shoes replacement).

Chris

13 years of experience
107 reviews
Chris
13 years of experience
Hyundai Sonata - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Port Richey, Florida
CHRIS IS THE BEST MECHANIC I HAVE EVER MEET IN MY LIFE. HE IS HONEST AND HE KNOWS HIS STUFF. VERY PROFESSIONAL AND KNOWLEDGEABLE. THANK YOU CHRIS!!!

Pardeep

19 years of experience
587 reviews
Pardeep
19 years of experience
Dodge Caravan - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Fremont, California
Pradeep was early to my appointment and during his work he showed me that I didn’t need rear brake shoes saving me money.He cleaned and serviced the existing shoes and he also adjusted my parking brake cable. Great job. I will always use Your mechanic for any car repairs.

Oreste

12 years of experience
117 reviews
Oreste
12 years of experience
Dodge Avenger - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Miami, Florida
Orestes is very professional. He explained what was done to my vehicle and suggested upcoming maintenance needed. Great person

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