Can Water Damage An Alternator?

Can Water Damage An Alternator?

The alternator is one of 30,000 components that make up a car. Its main function is to help generate electrical energy, which is needed to charge the battery and power most electrical components in a car. As essential as the alternator is to the vehicle, you need to understand that it also has its issues.

Like most other car components, the alternator can always go bad depending on a couple of things. One of the most common causes of a failing alternator is old age. Some other factors that could affect the performance of your alternator include fluid leaks, broken drive belts, bad rectifier diodes, and bad wiring.

Furthermore, water can always damage your vehicle’s alternator. Your alternator will most likely not get damaged by a drop of water. However, it could misbehave or go bad if it ends up getting exposed to a flood of water. The brass and bronze brushes within the alternator could get damaged because they are exposed.

What exactly will happen if you end up getting your vehicle’s alternator wet? Can water damage an alternator? What is the best way to fix a wet alternator? These are the frequently asked questions that I’ll further address in the rest of this article.

What Happens if You Get Your Alternator Wet?

The alternator plays a pivotal role in how a vehicle operates. It’s the component that’s responsible for converting mechanical energy to electrical energy, which it utilizes to power various electrical systems in your car.

In case you don’t know, the alternator is not waterproof. With that, it means the system can always get damaged by water.

If you end up getting your alternator wet, the best you can do is to get a technician to run a check and see to it that the component isn’t affected by water. Here’s the thing; by getting your alternator wet, its exposed parts will be the ones to suffer heavily for it.

For instance, the brass or bronze brushes are pretty much installed in an exposed area on your alternator. If your alternator eventually gets wet, these components are going to suffer a lot. These brushes are often lubricated to keep the wear and electrical arcing down.

However, once the brass or bronze brushes get flooded with water and become wet, their lubrication is one of the things that’ll wear away. If this happens, the brushes will get damaged.

Furthermore, frequent exposure of the brass or bronze brushes to water could also damage your alternator. Yes, this is possible; the water will make the brushes rust, making them come out of contact with the slip ring, and rendering them useless.

Apart from damaging the brass or bronze brushes, another thing that you’ll most likely encounter by wetting your alternator is the attraction of dust and grime. A wet alternator will certainly attract grime, debris, and dirt, which could end up reducing its performance.

Bottom line: if you get your alternator wet, this will most likely get its exposed parts, such as the brass or bronze brushes, damaged. Of course, I’m not saying that a splash of water on your alternator will spoil it. Instead, “getting your alternator wet” as used in this context means submerging your vehicle inside a flood or still water.

Can Water Damage Your Alternator?

Of course, water can always damage your alternator. While that’s the fact, it’s worth noting that this will only happen in rare cases.

For instance, a drop or splash of water on your alternator will most likely not do any harm to it. However, by driving your car past a flooded road, there’s a higher chance that you’ll damage your vehicle’s alternator.

You can always wash your alternator with soap and water – this is a good example to show that water doesn’t destroy alternators in most cases. However, in this case, you’ll need to first disconnect the battery from your alternator. After that, you can proceed and gently spray the mixture of soap and water on the terminals and brushes within the alternator.

Furthermore, you can even leave the water-soap mixture on the brushes and terminals for a couple of minutes before scrubbing with a wire brush and rinsing with clean water.

So, the bottom line is that water may damage your alternator in rare cases. This will most likely happen if you end up wetting your alternator by submerging the car in still or flood water. Above all, it’s the exposed brass or bronze brushes within your alternator that will suffer from the mess.

How to Fix a Wet Alternator?

Can Water Damage An Alternator?

The alternator is one of the components of a car that’s designed to handle water. That said, if you end up wetting the alternator, there are a couple of things that you can do to fix the issue immediately.

A wet alternator will most likely affect the brass/bronze brushes within it. To prevent the brushes and other components from getting damaged, you need to clean the alternator as quickly as possible, using a suitable cleaner.

The CRC alternator cleaner is one of the cleaners that you can trust, in this case, to get the job done. After that, you need to open the hood of your vehicle and detach the alternator. Next, you need to spray the CRC cleaner on your alternator and leave for about 24 hours to dry.

With that, your alternator will be good and free from getting damaged. To achieve the best results, ensure to keep your vehicle’s good open so that air can blow on it and dry it out quickly.

Bottom line: the best way to fix a wet alternator is by spraying it with a suitable cleaner, such as the CRC alternator cleaner. After that leave the alternator for a day to dry out and should be fine.

Gui Hadlich

Hey there! I'm Gui. To be honest, I'm not really that interested in cars. But what I'm really, really not interest in is spending lots of money fixing my car up. Thankfully, I have a father-in-law who's obsessed with cars and a brother getting a PhD in internal combustion engines, so I get to learn about fixing cars. And with Fixing Engines, I hope to help you save a lot of money and take good care of your cars.

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