Your car battery running out of power while you are on the road is a frustrating situation. However, the events take a whole new turn if you are stuck under a heavy downpour.
The rain itself would make the task manifold harder for you. Moreover, it’s a well-known fact that handling electronics in wet conditions isn’t a good idea.
With that said, you might find yourself unable to decide whether it’s safe to change the battery or if you should wait. Thankfully, you can still change a car battery while it is raining, as long as you take some necessary precautions.
Can you change car battery in the rain?
If you ever get stuck in the rain with your car battery out of power, you need not worry about your car remaining stranded until the rain stops. Although it’s generally unsafe to mix water with electricity, the voltage of a car battery is too low to electrocute you. A car battery is usually of only 12 volts, which shouldn’t cause any issues.
However, it pays to adhere to certain precautions to remain on the safer side. After all, it isn’t a smart idea to take your chances just because changing car batteries in the rain isn’t hazardous. You can’t rule out accidents altogether, so it’s wise to be safe.
Can rain affect your car battery?
Besides your personal safety, you might also be feeling worried about damages that your car battery might suffer due to the rain. After all, it is common knowledge that water making its way into an electronic gadget can cause it to short circuits. Well, while car batteries can get wet, the water doesn’t usually have any adverse effects. Here’s why:
- The very design of the battery is such that it wouldn’t allow a large amount of water to enter.
- Water is actually a bad conductor of electricity unless other substances dissolved in the water turn it acidic.
- The water wouldn’t have much effect unless the battery connects to an outlet, and the current has to pass through the water.
Hence, you may stay assured that rainwater wouldn’t cause any damage to your car battery. You may, however, notice a little drop in its power. This isn’t due to the rain but to overall weather conditions. Cold temperatures sluggish car batteries, which is why you would find it harder to start a car in cold weather than in hot and sunny conditions.
What happens if a battery gets rained on?
As explained above, rainwater wouldn’t usually cause damage to your car battery. Even if the battery has a vent to let out gasses, the rubber membrane guarding it offers only a one-way opening that wouldn’t allow water to seep in. However, if a battery has grown old and worn out, it may face some issues.
For instance, if the acidic contents inside the battery corrode the terminals, it would be more vulnerable to water damage. This is why it is a good idea to get a new battery and discard the old one once the latter starts showing signs of corrosion.
Unless your car battery has grown old and is in a bad condition, you may take it out in the rain without any worries. However, do try to protect it from the rain as much as possible, regardless of the battery’s condition.
How to safely change car batteries in the rain?
Now you know that it is actually safe to change car batteries even when it’s raining heavily. However, you should still be cautious while going about it. Follow these steps to change car batteries safely in the rain.
Pull over to the side
Firstly, you need to move your car to the side of the road. While leaving your car in the middle of the road while you swap the batteries would cause inconvenience to other drivers, it’s also quite dangerous. Especially heavy rains result in reduced visibility, leaving your car in the way of traffic could result in a major accident.
Turn off the engine
The next step is to open the hood so that you can access the battery. However, you would first have to turn off the engine. Although a 12-volt battery wouldn’t electrocute you, it can still cause a painful electric shock. Once you open the good, make sure to secure it properly. Leaving it loose would make it prone to potential damages due to strong wind.
Cover the hood with a tarp and remove the battery
Make sure to use a tarp and cover the hood before you remove the battery. The tarp would protect the hood from wind and help prevent rainwater from entering the engine area. Moreover, the batteries would be less likely to get wet too. Now remove the dead battery, disconnecting the negative terminal first. Replace it with the new battery and connect the terminals, starting with the positive one this time.
Dry the battery later
Once you get home, make sure to take the battery out and dry it completely. Wipe away all the water with a dry piece of cloth and leave the battery in the open for a while, to evaporate any remaining water. While water doesn’t cause any immediate damage to car batteries, but it can make the terminals rust over time. Before you reinstall the battery next time, it must not have any more traces of water.
Is it possible to jump start your car in the rain?
If you do not have a spare battery with you and can’t find a shop nearby, your easiest way out of the mess is to jump-start the car. However, you may be hesitating about the safety of the procedure, especially while it rains. Do not worry, chances of getting electrocuted while jump-starting a car is nil, due to the low voltage. In terms of personal safety, jump-starting doesn’t pose any greater threat than replacing a battery.
Jump-starting a car involves electric connections, so you would naturally have to be cautious about it. In case you need to jump-start your car while it’s raining outside, consider the following aspects for safety.
- Make sure that the jumper cables are well-insulated. Damaged insulation can cause rainwater to reach the wiring inside and cause short circuits.
- As the open hoods would leave the car engines vulnerable to the rain, use a tarp or a drape to cover them.
- Never mix up the positive and negative terminals, as this could lead to a nasty short-circuit even when it isn’t raining outside.
While rain doesn’t pose a threat, do note that jump-starting a car during a thunderstorm can be a little risky. If you absolutely have to jump-start in such a situation, connect the cables very carefully to prevent sparks. Also, use long cables to be at a distance from the vehicle while jump-starting it.
In case you had been anxious that a dead car battery during rainy weather would leave you stranded, you may now let go of those fears. You can always replace or jump-start the car battery, even during heavy rains. All you have to do is avoid using damaged cables or batteries that might be especially vulnerable to the rain.