Q: 10% of the time, car won't start when rainy weather

asked by on

I purchased this station wagon from an elderly lady who had kept it in great condition and regularly had it serviced. It had been kept in a garage all those years, so it is in Mint condition! Occasionally it has some trouble starting. When this happens, it is usually in the mornings or when it has been raining. When it doesn’t start, there is a backfire. 90% of the time, it has absolutely no problem starting. I don’t even hit the gas pedal - it just starts like a dream. But on especially humid or rainy days it is finicky. At those times I’ve tried pumping the gas pedal, but that worsens the problem and it runs down the battery, so I have to jump-start my car. I know the wet weather is the issue, but I have not been able to discover the cause and neither have two Volvo dealerships. They say they fixed it, but at the first rainy day, I have the same problem starting it. Have you seen this problem before and if so, what can I do to get my wonderful car in top rate condition?

Hello. The symptoms you are describing are commonly caused by ignition system problems with moisture. Old or worn ignition wires, or a cracked or leaky distributor cap, can cause the vehicle to experience hard starting. In wet weather, moisture can build up in the distributor cap and cause it to short, which will leave the vehicle without a reliable spark. It may also be possible that water is somehow coming into contact with the ignition system components when it rains, also causing a short. I would recommend having the vehicle’s ignition system thoroughly inspected for any signs of wear or moisture buildup by a certified technician from YourMechanic.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. 10% of the time, car won't start when rainy weather

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: My engine backfires like a lean carburetor

Hello. If your engine is backfiring and you smell gasoline then it is likely that your vehicle is running rich. Backfires can be caused by both rich and lean conditions, however a fuel smell is usually associated with a rich...

Q: Unable to start my car - 2014 Honda Civic

Hi there. Although it's very difficult to diagnose why a car is not starting issue without being there to inspect this issue, you may have a problem with the ignition system or the FOB key (if you have a keyless...

Q: A click is heard, lights flash, and engine shuts down

Hello. The symptoms you are describing can be caused by a few different issues. The first thing I would check is to see if the battery is in good condition, properly charged, and able to pass a load test. I...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...