Can a Car Engine Get Wet?

This blog post will answer the question, “Can a Car Engine Get Wet?” It will also discuss what would happen to your car when you drive through high water or spray water on the car engine?

Can a Car Engine Get Wet?

Yes, a car engine can get wet. Nowadays, vehicles have air-tight and waterproof engines and are completely safe even if the car engine gets wet. 

Older cars had some issues with the wet engine because its distributor consisted of mechanical switches. Therefore, if the old car engine gets wet it would not work.

More specifically the type of car will determine which parts are unaffected and which can cause problems to the engine when exposed to water or a liquid. All modern vehicles have weatherproof engine bays. Manufacturers of cars have to make sure that engines are completely sealed pack. 

The manufacturer tries their best to make engines separate and safe by using weather strips but in reality, things still go inside. Therefore, it varies from vehicle to vehicle what extent of care engine is required from getting wet.

What Happens When a Car Engine Gets Wet?

Air can enter the engine through the air intake, and passing through the air filter free from dust, dirt, and moisture, air goes into the cylinder. This air is mixed with fuel in a combustion process.

Unlike air, water is not compressible and it will remain in its original size. Therefore, when water enters the engine and a compression stroke comes along the water then it has no space to go.

In one case, if you put a massive strain on one of the engine’s components, then it can cause water to go inside. This can cause the engine to lose compression, decreased power, more power dissipation, and poor mileage. 

What Would Happen If You Spray Water on Car Engine?

It is completely safe to spray water the engine bay with water when talking about modern cars. These cars have weatherproof wiring connectors and air-tight boxes for the car engine.

You have to be cautious while spraying around the alternator, sensors, and intake while using high-pressure water. There are some details that need to be taken into account while exposing the engine to water.

Can You Do Pressure wash the Engine?

If you have modern cars, then it would not be a big problem. If you use a garden hose to clean the engine then it would be fine and would not do any damage to the engine bay. 

If you are using a pressure washer then do not use massive water pressure on the engine. Avoid spraying 2000 psi of water and keep the washer away from the alternator.

If the Alternator Gets wet?

When the alternator gets wet then it removes lubrication on it. This causes damage to brushes by an electrical arc. Continuous interaction with water can disconnect brushes’ contact with the slip ring.  

Therefore, if it gets a little wet then no worries it does not cause any damage. But try to cover it with plastic or any other cover to avoid getting any water inside the alternator.

Although the car’s alternator is well protected, avoid it from getting wet while cleaning.

If the Belts with the Engine Gets Wet?

As we know that water and cleaners act as lubricants. Therefore, this area should be kept dry. Because belts could slip away. It is not a big deal you can dry it or replace it with a new one.

What Happens to the Car Engine when Drive through high Water?

Driving through high water can have significantly worse outcomes on the engine’s health. Depending on the depth of water, it can spill into the car which can start a chain reaction of devastating damage to the car engine.

Will the car be OK After Driving through Water?

It depends on the water level you drove through the car and the location of the air intake. If the air intake in the car is placed at a low level then it can suck some water, which means it might enter the car engine. 

If the air intake is placed high, then it would be fine.

What to Check After Driving through Water?

Check the brakes of the car, because it could lose its grip. Before getting out of the car, try to tap the brakes to dry them.

Observe the sound of the engine to assess the condition. If the sound is the same as usual then the car engine is fine. If there are some unusual noises and bizarre behavior from the engine it shows some problem with the engine.

If you suspect any problem, try to take it to a professional mechanic rather than trying to solve it by yourself because it can cause further damage to the car engine.


This blog post addressed the question, “Can a Car Engine Get Wet?” Now we know that the car engine can get wet but does not have severe consequences. We also discussed different scenarios if we spray the engine with water what could happen to the engine. Moreover, If you drive a car through high water what are the problems that can happen.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Can a Car Engine Get Wet?

My engine needs some attention so I want to clean it up. What should not get wet? And tips and suggestions.

If you want to do the cleaning then avoid water from alternators, sensors, and air intake then you are good to go for cleaning. Also, while using the washer try not to exceed water pressure from 2000 psi.

What happens when my car’s engine gets wet, and won’t start (Like I drove through a deep puddle)

If you drove your car through deep water, then your air intake might get some water inside. If this is the case then you should take your car to a professional mechanic.

Should I get my car checked after driving through the water?

If the engine sound, after starting, is the same as usual then the car engine is fine. If there are some unusual noises and bizarre behavior from the engine it indicates some problem with the engine. Therefore you should get your check.


Canadian Gearhead. (n.d.). Is it Safe to Spray Your Engine Bay With Water? Retrieved from

Gerhardt, N. (2022, March 10). What Happened to Your Car When You Drive Through High Water. Family Handyman. Retrieved from

R3 Auto Detailing. (n.d.). Is it Safe to Spray Water Directly to Engine Bay?

Protect My Car. (n.d.). Can Water Damage Your Car’s Alternator? Retrieved from