The alternator is one of the thousands of components necessary to keep your car running. Unfortunately, like many components, your alternator can fail due to various factors. While age is the most common cause of an alternator failing, fluid leaks, broken belts, defective wiring, and water can affect its performance.

What Is Your Alternator and What Does It Do?

Your car uses electricity for a wide range of functions that keep you safe and comfortable while driving. While we often take it for granted, your vehicle needs electricity for headlights, dash lights, sensors, and to start the engine. While many assume this power comes from the battery, your alternator plays a crucial role in generating electricity for your car.

While your car battery has immense power, it needs charging to keep up with the electricity demand, and that's what your alternator does. Your alternator acts as a generator when the vehicle is running, ensuring that your battery is charged fully and has the power to start your engine.

Is Your Alternator Waterproof?

Your alternator is in the engine compartment and protected from moisture such as rain or a car wash. However, this electrical component is not entirely immune to the effects of water. Driving through deep puddles that soak the engine compartment can damage your alternator if it is not dried out quickly. While going through a puddle won't usually damage your alternator, the brass and bronze brushes inside can be exposed to water and damaged from flooding or deep water. In addition to damaging the electrical components that make up your alternator, water can also attract dust, dirt, and grime, reducing its performance.

Maintaining Your Alternator

While a bit of water won't typically damage your alternator, you should avoid driving through deep puddles that can force water into the engine compartment. Additionally, it's essential to ensure your alternator is free of dirt, grease, or debris that can trap heat and cause damage. You should also regularly inspect the electrical connections on the alternator and battery to identify potential issues before they occur.

At Subaru, our team of experts recommends regular inspections of your alternator and other electrical components to keep you on the road. And while a few drops of water won't affect performance, if you inadvertently drive through a deep puddle that submerges your alternator, you should contact our service department immediately or use our online service scheduler to check for damage and avoid a breakdown.

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