Can a Car Alternator Get Wet? Here Is What You Need To Know

Many car owners debate if car alternators can get wet. This question poses a unique challenge since alternators generate electricity – and electricity does not mix well with water. So let us put an end to these heated debates once and for all!

I went around the city and talked to a few mechanics. Here is what I was told about alternators and water.

Key Takeaway

  • The alternator can get wet with water without any issues, however, if you accidentally spray a degreaser, then it can cause issues.
  • Alternators are not water-resistant. However, they have seals to prevent water from getting into some areas.
  • You can clean an alternator with water, but make sure that the battery is disconnected.
  • If water gets on the alternator, dried it off before you start your vehicle.
  • Water doesn’t hurt the alternator. It is corrosion from water that can affect the metal parts and cause premature wear.

Can a Car Alternator Get Wet?

Can a Car Alternator Get Wet Here Is What You Need To Know

Alternators can get wet with water without any major consequences, but degreasers in the engine bay can pose an issue if applied directly to the alternator.

Most alternators are designed for between 80,000 and 100,000 miles; however, the seals that cover their bearings may fail prematurely from excessive moisture exposure.

As such, when spraying a degreaser on an alternator, you risk spraying it directly onto its bearings which could cause it to fail sooner than expected.

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How do you know if it’s safe to get the alternator wet? Before detailing the engine bay, inspect the alternator. Look at the front housing where the pulley meets with the housing; when this starts going bad, you will notice metal shavings around that part and even some brown dust on top of it.

If your alternator is showing signs of failure, getting it wet with water or a degreaser could cause it to fail prematurely or short it out.

To put this into perspective: Water should only be applied if the alternator is in working condition (has its cover removed and no visible damage). If the alternatorOpens in a new tab.

Is The Alternator Water-Resistant?

Can a Car Alternator Get Wet Here Is What You Need To Know

The alternator is an essential element of any vehicle. It provides power to run the engine and power various electrical systems, so its condition must be maintained. Many drivers wonder whether their alternator is water-resistant; unfortunately, there’s no definitive answer on that front.

While some alternators are water-resistant, others are not. Even those that claim to be resistant may not be able to withstand submerging in deep bodies of water or driving through a car wash.

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Furthermore, alternators are lubricated with water-resistant grease to keep them running smoothly even during wet conditions. Thus, alternators are durable enough to withstand exposure to various weather conditions and are an essential component of many types of vehicles.

However, be mindful that older alternators may not be as water-resistant as they once were. Older alternators might have damaged housings or exposed bearings; if exposed to water, the alternator could suffer serious damage.

Can You Clean An Alternator With Water?

Yes, you can clean an alternator with distilled water; however, be sure to turn off your vehicle and disconnect the battery before beginning. Furthermore, avoid pointing a pressure washer directly into the alternator as this could damage its wiring. Instead, use either a pre-soaked soft brush or sponge and only use distilled water – no degreaser necessary!

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When cleaning an alternator, I mentioned that you can use distilled water rather than regular water. Distilled water has a low content of dissolved salts which makes it ideal for metallic parts since regular water can cause corrosion while distilled water has virtually zero corrosion effect on metal materials.

With these guidelines in mind, cleaning an alternator with water is a relatively straightforward task that can help extend the life of your car.

I Got Water On My Alternator Will It Be Fine Once It Dries Off?

Alternators are designed to resist moisture damage, so a little water should not cause any major harm. I would be more concerned about corrosion that could develop over time on the metal parts of an alternator from exposure to water.

The alternator is an essential element of any car engine. Its primary role is to generate electricity that powers the car’s electrical system. The alternator gets its energy from the engine and uses magnets to create an electrical current that charges the battery and powers lights, radio, and other accessories on board. Without an alternator, cars would not run for very long without electricity.

Alternators are designed to work even when submerged in water. However, if the alternator remains submerged for an extended period of time or is completely submerged in the liquid, there can be corrosion and electrical shorts.

If you have just finished detailing your engine bay and the car alternator got wet, leave the hood open so it can dry completely. Additionally, tap it gently with a clean towel to absorb any extra water.

How Do You Dry Out a Wet Alternator?

One of the most frequent car maintenance issues is a wet alternator. An alternator plays an integral role in car electrical systems and can become damaged due to moisture exposure. There are two methods for drying out a wet alternator: one requires special knowledge to disassemble it, while the other is more straightforward. I will explain both techniques here:

The most efficient, but more time-consuming way to dry a wet alternator is by taking it off. Start by taking the alternator out of your car and disassembling it. Next, clean all parts with a cloth or brush. Afterward, you can use either a hair dryer or a heat gun to gently dry them off.

Be sure to keep the heat low, as too much can damage the alternator. Finally, disassemble and install the alternator back in your car.

If you lack the expertise to disassemble an alternator, here’s how:

Once the vehicle is off and disconnected from the battery, turn off the engine and disconnect the alternator to ensure there is no electrical power to it. Take a clean towel and tap away any excess water inside of it.

Alternatively, grab a soft brush and put some cloth over it to try to extract any water inside from within the alternator. If it’s sunny out, leave the hood open all day long for easy access. Or, leave your engine running with only minimal fan assistance!

A wet alternator is usually not a major issue. The source of the issue lies in either water or degreaser damage. Water can cause corrosion to an alternator’s components while a degreaser can seep into its wiring and cause serious harm.

Bob Semana

Hi there, I am a Mechanical Engineer that specializes in AC, Alternators, Batteries, Cooling systems, and Drive Train issues.

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