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