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Can Water Cause Check Engine Light to Come On? (Answered)

Driving through off-road, muddy surfaces, or even in the water can be pretty awful if it causes errors in your daily driving. This is why here is the solution to your problem so that you don’t have to look for it anywhere else.

Can water cause the check engine light to come on?

When driving in rain or waterlogged areas, if water ever gets into your car’s sensors, your car’s engine may send you an error message. Since the engine is very sensitive, the slightest problem can cause your car’s check engine lights to turn on. So, you should solve the problems very carefully. 

The check engine light is a signal that any driver would not like to see in their cars. Usually, this light turns on when there is any sort of malfunction under the car’s hood.  

Before that, it is important to identify the reason behind the light turning on.

The reason is simple, it could be caused by rainfall. When it rains, water drops down inside the engine through hoods and causes issues. 

Driving through deep water:

It could happen when you drive through deep water. This is the main reason why the engine light could be turned on. Water could reach down to your car’s spark plug and cause engine error. 

Older spark plugs are easier to catch water as they become cracked after long-term use. So, it is better to check if the spark plug is wet or not. 

Also, when you are washing your car, the water from high-pressure water spraying pipes is reached the sensitive part of your engine causing your car’s engine light to turn on. 

As some cars have that functionality where a pressure built up inside the gas tank is measured and taken into account in order to keep the engine running, having a loosen gas cap for that could cause malfunction to the sensors and send error messages. 

So, if your car’s gas cap is not screwed tight enough, it might be a reason why your check engine light is turned on.

What should you check after driving through high water?

Some inspections should be done after you drive through high water. Although, cars these days are built with modern technology that doesn’t let water interfere with any engine-related issue. 

However, after driving in waterlogged or high-water areas, a few things need to be taken into consideration. They are discussed below:

Any unusual noise:

If you have already driven through a high-water area and you are hearing any unusual noises, immediately inspect and solve the issue. 

The noise might be caused by water reached inside the engine. For this issue, you might need to start your car, again and again, which could cause severe damage to your engine. 

Spark plugs:

This small thing can become a very uncertain issue after driving through high-water roads. This small part getting in contact with water might make it useless. 

The undercarriage:

Observe the undercarriage after driving through the water. If more than 6 inches of water accumulates on the road you are driving, it can get inside the car and cause damage to the car.

Why does my check engine light come on when it rains?

If you let your car sit outside for a long time, waters due to rainfall can go inside your engine and damage the sensitive parts of the engine causing the check engine light to turn on. The water usually enters the engine by rolling over the hood.

Besides, water could damage your spark plug by getting in contact with it. The functionality of the spark plug is very simple yet very difficult to maintain in proper condition. 

Water could go down to the oil tank and cause engine failure when starting, so make sure to check the oil deep stick if there is any water alongside with oil in the tank. Driving with water mixed with fuel will cause serious damage to the car.

At the same time, there is a risk of frequent car stops and loss of mileage. So, if your engine light is turned on, you need to check the fuel tank as well.

Finally, clogged water might end up resulting in leakages where your car might not be able to accelerate properly due to loss of compression. 

What happens if water gets in your engine?

The common issue that occurs when water gets into the car engine is, the engine fails to start.

It causes the engine to start repeatedly, which shortens the lifespan of the engine. Here are some of the other things that happen when water enters a car’s engine:  

Damages the engine:

The engine is the most sensitive part of your car. If water enters the following engine compartments such as air filters or fuel tanks, the engine easily gets damaged or is unable to provide the best performance.

Water entering your engine as well as sensors might provide the car wrong reading from the sensor and show weird signs such as turning on the check engine lights.

Rusts out the parts:

Since metal is used in the manufacture of cars, if water gets clogged inside the car parts, it can cause rust and corrosion on the car parts and damage the car. 

It can create leaks and holes in your metal pipes that can cause pressure loss and fail to accelerate the car quickly.

Dampen of the interiors:

If water gets inside your car, it will ruin your car’s interior and carpeting and cause car odor to build up inside it. Usually, this type of damp is can be very noticeable through bare eyes.

You will see the carpet of the cars is moist, your car builds up a very bad smell inside it every time you leave it for a while. So, that might cause you an expensive repair to your car. 

How long does it take for water to ruin an engine? Can you drive a car with water in the engine?

A very small amount of water can’t reach any harm to your daily driven vehicle. But if your car gets wet in the rain, water may accumulate in it. 

The longer you leave your car in the open with water clogged inside it, the sooner it will quickly damage your car’s engine. Usually, clogged waters can damage your car parts such as the tailpipes, bumpers, suspensions and brakes, fuel injectors, and a lot more within 10 seconds

Water that accumulates in these areas can cause rust on your car and damage the car. 

Also, the faulty engine will be of no use if not fixed properly. Though a car can be driven with water inside it, it is recommended not to do so. 

Driving a car with severe engine issues can end up blowing up the car engine. Besides, the car might not be able to accelerate properly, or unable to start, all these issues together will cause a reduction to the mileage of the car. 

How do you get water out of an engine?

Taking water out of the car is a very difficult and time-consuming process. You may need professionally expert mechanics’ supervision in order to perform the task. You need to figure out which way the water has entered the car. 

If it is possible to open and dry the parts in that place, it is better to do it immediately. Some more suggestions are given below:

Use vacuum cleaner:

Try to suck the water and excess moisture from the engine bay and the interior carpeting using a vacuum cleaner. 

In addition to that, if you can manage a blow dryer, spraying it in a medium setting a couple of times will dry out some of the parts.

Replace the coolants and liquids: 

Remove the lower radiator hose, it will easily drain out excess water that might have entered your car’s radiator. 

Also, check the oil deep stick as it wasn’t durably designed to keep away water from the tank. Dry them up properly before you refill new liquids.

Clean the electric connections:

Make sure to disconnect the batteries, fuel injectors, spark plugs, and the wiring and keep them in open sunlight or remove the excess water using a towel. Do not plug in or run them if they are not dried up properly. 

Rotate the crankshaft:

You can try rotating the crankshaft of the car letting the pistons of the engine release the excess water that was clogged inside. 

Keep an eye on the exhaust valves and air intakes, water will be coming out from there, keep doing the procedure until it empties up.

Final thoughts

Water can cause very complicated issues such as turning on the check engine lights. There is a risk of major damage to the car if it is neglected. Therefore, the presence of water in the spark plugs, air filters, and fuel tanks must be monitored and inspected if the car’s check engine lights are on.