Q: How Does Water Get Into a Car's Ignition System?

asked by on November 19, 2015

How does water get into a car's ignition system?

Depending on what type of ignition system you have, a conventional older style ignition system with a distributer cap and ignition rotor, or a more updated version on newer vehicles that has a coil per spark plug, there are several ways for water to get in. In most cases, rain or hitting a deep puddle will be the cause of water issues.

There is no stopping mother nature. Sometimes getting water into your engine compartment is inevitable, even though the ignition systems are supposed to be sealed so that water cannot affect it.

You could possibly have a cracked distributor cap or a missing gasket between the distributor housing and the plastic cap. If this is the case, water could get in and make the car misfire, buck, and cause a lot of running and starting issues.

If you have the coil on spark plug design there is no reason for water to affect it unless the coil is cracked and needs to be replaced.

Sometimes it’s possible to get excessive water into the engine compartment due to a technician error. Most of newer vehicles have long plastic shields under the engine compartment that are there to stop water from getting to the top of the engine, unfortunately some technicians have to take these off to perform routine service on the vehicle and forget to put them back on. Also, the owner of the vehicle can run something over and destroy this protective cover which people end up removing.

Check to see if your vehicle is supposed to have the shields that could possibly be missing if you are having running issues due to wet weather or puddles. If you ever run into any issues with your ignition system, feel free to contact a certified mechanic who can diagnose your starting problems and make the necessary repairs to get you going again.

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