Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: What do I do if water gets on my car switches?

asked by on

What do I do if water gets on my car switches?

A: Most of the time, when water is spilled on ...

Most of the time, when water is spilled on the inside of our cars, it is not a terrible situation. If the water gets onto the carpet, or onto the fabric of the seats, we will usually either soak it up with a rag or a towel, or simply give it time to dry. However, there are times when water gets into an electrical switch. Most cup holders are located on the center console; on many vehicles, this is very close to the location of the switches for many components such the windows and entertainment system. When water spills on those switches, you may panic with the thought of a serious electrical problem and what it may cost to fix it, but with a little knowledge, and a little luck, you may be able to prevent a costly repair.

If you get water on any of the switches inside of your vehicle, the first thing you should do is refrain from using that switch. Keeping any electrical power from going through the switch can prevent you from shorting anything out. From that point, it is best to give the switch time to dry; it can take several hours, even several days, for water to dry out from an enclosed area such as a switch. After allowing the switch to dry, you can attempt to use it to see if it is functioning. If it does not work properly, the best thing to do is replace it. In some cases there are switches that can be disassembled and cleaned, but the majority of the switches on modern vehicles cannot be taken apart.

The best way to ensure that you avoid a costly repair is to prevent it from occurring. Using containers that have sealable tops is the best way to prevent spills, and keeping a small rag or napkins in an easily accessible area will allow you to soak up as much of the liquid as possible should this occur. If you end up spilling water into one of your switches or other electrical components, it is important to give it time to dry, then have a certified mechanic inspect the component, and replace it if necessary, should problems persist.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Short in car's wiring.

It sounds like a wiring issue if you have to position them a certain way. It could be a short to ground, short to positive, or shorted circuit. Electrical issues are difficult to pinpoint, I suggest having a qualified technician...

Q: Hot air mixed with cold blows from air conditioning

Hey there. You will most likely have to have a mechanic bypass the heater coolant lines to have this resolved. Your A/C may not be controlling the air flow inside the evaporator correctly out of the vents and may be...

Q: Navigation system and CD player stopped working

Hello. Most units for this model are not serviceable. Besides updates and software-type repairs, if there is damage to the unit causing the issue, you must replace it. Now if there are issues with power supply, that's a different...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.