silver SUV car driving through water on road

Are Cars Waterproof? Yes, No, or Somewhere in Between?

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You can drive in the rain, sure…but are cars waterproof? Like, well and truly waterproof? It might seem obvious but think again!

You may have wondered whether you can safely leave your car outside if it’s tipping down. Or whether you’d be able to take it through a deep puddle if needs be.

The short answer? No, cars aren’t waterproof. But you can protect them against water damage.

What does waterproof actually mean?

For something to be waterproof, it needs to not let water in. Like your trusty rain jacket or sports watch.

While you’re (hopefully) not getting wet if you’re driving in the rain, your car isn’t technically waterproof. If you were to close everything and drop it in a lake, there’d be water entering it at a steady pace – we’ve all seen the sinking car on TV shows.

A car’s engine isn’t designed to be waterproof. That’s why if you’re driving in wet road conditions and go through deep water, your car engine is likely to cut out.

If water gets into the air intake, the engine will stop running. Then there are the electrical components which might short: think your battery, lights, the controls for your wipers, and more.

When it comes to diesel vs petrol engines (read our article on the most fuel efficient cars in Australia for more on that debate), neither one is waterproof.

However, because diesel engines don’t have spark plugs, they’re typically the ones used for serious off-roading vehicles where water crossings are likely. They’ll also often have snorkels, like the one below:

black ford hilux car with snorkel for going through water

How can you make your car more waterproof?

Now you know cars aren’t waterproof. This doesn’t negate the fact that our cars sometimes have to tackle water in one way or another. Cars are of course designed in such a way that when water’s falling on them, it runs off the vehicle without running into any of the parts that would be damaged by water.

However, sometimes (especially on older cars) degradation and damage can mean your wheels aren’t as watertight as you’d like. You can take a few steps to make your car more wet-weather friendly.

Waterproofing steps for your car

First, make sure the rubber strips around your doors and windows are properly sealed.

Sometimes, the rubber can come loose or get damaged. You’ll know about it if this is the case because your car interior will usually be damp after getting caught in the rain. So not only will it not be a waterproof car…but it won’t even be particularly water resistant. (Read our article on how to get the wet smell out of your car)

You should also get into the habit of using a sealant all over your car’s painted exterior after you wash it. You may or may not want to then wax over it (never under it).This limits corrosion to the car exterior from rain and salt and can protect it against water damage. Experts say you should do this once every season.

Finally, you may want to look into a rain repellent. These are products designed specifically to keep rainwater off your windshield or get it off the windscreen quickly. If you drive in heavy rain often, it can make a world of difference. Plus, it reduces condensation and makes it easier for your wipers to do their job.

white SUV car driving through deep water in Australia

Protection for your wheels

With the downpours and floods Australians have been experiencing as of late, waterproof cars would be perfect. But on a serious note, it’s more important than ever to be conscious of protecting your car. Comprehensive car insurance is just another layer of protection – for you, financially.

Why not get a quick free quote?

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