When driving, it’s normal for a certain amount of water to flow into the alternator. However, excessive wetness and moisture may damage the alternator. It should be easy to fix, as long as the alternator isn’t submerged in water.
The secret to fixing a wet alternator is a quick response when you suspect excessive moisture may have gotten into it. You should always try to dry out the excessive moisture before you use it again using an electric or petroleum distillate.
This article will examine how to fix a wet alternator. In addition, I will also discuss many misconceptions and questions you may have about your alternator.
A great misconception about the alternator is that it is waterproof; it is not! Although, Questions like “Can an alternator get wet” often get a Yes from experts. It doesn’t mean your alternator is waterproof.
The alternator doesn’t have the structural integrity to be waterproof; instead, it is designed to be air-cooled. It draws air through an internal fan connected to the alternator shaft’s drive side. This creates an opening for water to enter the internal components and cause damage quickly.
We can easily describe the alternator as water-resistant to an extent. There is a huge difference between waterproof and water resistant. It depends on the volume of water that the device can handle. Waterproof devices can handle more water than water-resistant devices.
In addition, the engine compartment of the alternator is not watertight, which means if enough water flows into the alternator, it will find its way to its vital parts. However, manufacturers consider a wet alternator possible because of the opening for cool air. It is why a protective coating is used in internal parts, making the alternator water-resistant but not waterproof.
Now, when the question, “Can the alternator get wet?” We understand that the answer is yes; some water in the alternator is permitted because it is water resistant, but too much water is bad.
The engine bay of your vehicle is not sealed; this makes it easy for water to enter major parts of the engine and the alternator. There is no problem with water on alternator; however, there is a problem where the water becomes too much. In some cases, the alternator could be completely submerged into the alternator.
Below are the common causes of “alternator wet.”
During extreme weather conditions, water can move to the alternator. The engine bay is not sealed, meaning rainwater can reach the alternator.
In most cases, there is no problem with rainwater getting to the alternator; this is because the water from the rain is not significant enough to cause major damage to the alternator. Also, the alternator has a built-in regulator that protects against rainwater.
However, excess rainwater enters the alternator if there is an issue with vehicle parts. Once it is submerged in that extra water, the alternator can stop functioning.
2. Washing engine bay directly
An alternator can be wet when washing the engine bay as it is not sealed. Water entering the engine bay when washing can flow to it or during cleaning alternator. Although it is not enough to damage its parts, you must be careful.
If excessive water flows to the alternator, it could submerge it and cause major damage to the internal components.
3. Water from a puddle
Also, water can enter the alternator when entering a water puddle. Like the other causes, it depends on how much water gets to the alternator. As long as the water is not in excess and does not submerge the alternator, then there will be no damage.
4. Holes in the alternator
As we know, the alternator is designed to resist water; however, there are certain areas in the alternator where moisture can escape through into the internal parts. The water has to be in excess to get into the alternator’s internal components.
However, if there are holes or damages on the body of the alternator, then you may be left with a problem like “alternator got wet car won’t start” or oil leaking into alternator.
When water flows to the alternator, it does not cause immediate damage. As water stays in the alternator, it begins to corrode metal parts allowing it to get to major parts of the alternator like the internal engine.
One part of the alternator could easily be affected when the alternator is wet: the brass or bronze brushes. The brushes are coated, which helps prevent wear and other electrical damage. However, the coating could easily wash away when the brush is exposed to constant water.
Once the coating on the brush washes away, it is exposed to external elements and will easily wear out. The brush will rust if exposed to water continuously.
Although the alternator is water resistant, it is still very much possible to get it damaged by water. For instance, if the alternator is submerged in water, the alternator will immediately stop working, and the only solution for this kind of damage is to replace the alternator.
You must check the alternator, especially after driving into a large puddle, power washing the engine bay, and leaving the vehicle in the rain. Ensure that a significant amount of water does not flow to the alternator, especially the brush.
If you notice water, especially on the brush, you need to clean the alternator of all the water immediately.
You must immediately act if you notice that your alternator is wet and could cause potential damage. Follow the step below.
1. Disconnect the battery and all other connections attached to the alternator.
2. Remove the alternator to give you better access.
3. Apply a petroleum distillate or alcohol-based precision cleaner to the alternator. You can spray directly on the alternator.
4. All the alternators dry out for a day.
5. Once you are sure that the alternator is completely dry, check the condition of the alternator.
6. If the alternator is in good condition, place the alternator back into its position and reconnect all the necessary wires.
You must act fast when you notice sufficient water entering the alternator. The water could easily flow to the internal parts of the alternator and cause damage and also damage the outer part of the alternator.
The alternator must be checked frequently to ensure it is in good condition. You could periodically clean the alternator using an electric cleaner, and the good thing is that you do not need to take the alternator out to have it cleaned. By doing this, you are creating a condition for your alternator to last longer. Also, ensure that you avoid driving in large puddles of water or anywhere that could cause the alternator to be submerged.