What to Do If Your Car Switches Get Wet | YourMechanic Advice

What to Do If Your Car Switches Get Wet

Your car switches are electrical components. They operate internal and external vehicle functions that require low currents in some cases and high currents in others. These functions can be for lighting, accessories, heater controls, or power windows, to name a few. No matter what the electrical component, they all have water as their common enemy.

Water is very damaging to electrical parts. Damage that may occur includes:

  • Blown fuses
  • Wiring shorts
  • Corrosion on contacts and wiring
  • Possible fire
  • Shorted switches

It is not uncommon to notice someone’s window open a little bit in the rain or snow. If that happens, it is possible that the car’s switches will get wet, especially the power window and power door lock switches.

If you notice that any switches inside your car have gotten wet with water, you should try to remove the water as quickly as possible. If the water is allowed to sit on the switches and penetrate down into the contacts, damage is likely to occur.

  1. Wipe any excess water off with a microfiber cloth, towel, or paper towel. Try to soak the water up instead of moving it around to prevent getting water deeper into the switches.

  2. Do NOT operate the switches while they are wet. Often a wet switch will be alright if it’s allowed to dry thoroughly before it is used again. Using a wet switch allows any more standing water to penetrate deeper. Also, if the switch is operated while wet, the water can short the switch, the wiring, or even cause a shock.

  3. Blow the switch out with compressed air. Use a can of compressed air to push as much moisture out of the switch as possible. It will dry the switch quickly, which means water will not sit in the contacts, causing corrosion.

If the substance that got on your switches is not water, you will need to clean the switch to prevent it from sticking. Spray the switch with a can of electrical contact cleaner after drying it to clean away as much of the contaminant as possible. Let the electrical contact cleaner evaporate fully before trying the switch.

If your car switches get wet and stop working, have a professional mechanic diagnose and repair the affected system as soon as possible.


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Joel

29 years of experience
37 reviews
Joel
29 years of experience
Dodge Dakota - Electric Problems - Phoenix, Arizona
Joel was very knowledgeable, and did what 3 other mechanic's couldn't. He found out short, and now the problem has been resolved. Thank you again Joel for the 5 Star service!
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Classic - Electric Problems - Peoria, Arizona
A+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++. He fixed the problem and took the time to show me defaults. Highly recommended!!!!

Diego

20 years of experience
564 reviews
Diego
20 years of experience
Chevrolet Express 2500 - Electric Problems - Glendale, Arizona
Diego was professional & spent several hours on a Diagnostic...he was unable to isolate & identity the specific Battery drain problem, but did provide helpful evaluation number ranges to help with future eliminations.
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 - Electric Problems - Surprise, Arizona
Diego was very professional and explained to me what I need to do so this does not happen again. Very good person I will recommend him highly for future work. He knows what to do and quickly finds the issue to fix.... thank you for having him on your team. Best regards, Kent Robertson

James

15 years of experience
39 reviews
James
15 years of experience
Mitsubishi Eclipse - Electric Problems - San Antonio, Texas
All I can say he did an awesome job. Was very professional I would recommend him to all my friends and family!
Chevrolet Traverse - Electric Problems - San Antonio, Texas
Mr. Potter was very nice and professional. Checked on my problem with my car and told my my results and gave me an estimate...

Peter

24 years of experience
334 reviews
Peter
24 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz C300 - Electric Problems - North Hollywood, California
Very helpful. Explained everything to me and showed me everything he found. Loved that I received documentation of everything he told me.

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