General Question

Trustinglife's avatar

Can I remove a car battery when it's raining?

Asked by Trustinglife (6589 points ) December 24th, 2008

My car won’t start. I think the battery is dead. Of course, I would wait for the rain to stop, but there’s time-sensitivity here, as I have to get this done before shops close for Christmas. I have a trip planned the morning of 12/26. It’s supposed to rain most of tomorrow, 12/24. Hence my question… if it’s raining, will I get a shock or anything if I remove the old battery? Any difference between light rain and steadier rain?

(No, I don’t have opportunity for shelter, since the car is parked on the street and is not starting.) Thanks for any suggestions.

As you might be able to tell, I’m not real good with cars.

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24 Answers

buster's avatar

Undo the black one first and you will be fine.

manu's avatar

Yes you can,
Just be careful while detaching the contacts
A car battery cant’ give you any electric shock

Have a nice and safe trip
:)

Trustinglife's avatar

Thanks guys. I feel more confident in doing this thing. Any dissenting opinions?

LKidKyle1985's avatar

heh, just in case, record the event and if it goes terribly wrong post it on fluther!
but on a side note, if its dead, what are we worried about? think you should be more worried about attaching the new one.
but I think it should be fine….
also, maybe you can use the hood to kinda block the rain a little and keep it a little dry

seVen's avatar

I bet www.cartalk.com would offer a good advice, sorry I'm not good at cars either.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

You’ll be fine. I’ve changed two batteries myself. Both in the middle of the night by flashlight.

bodyhead's avatar

If the battery is dead (or near), then the shock you get removing it would be negligible (I mean like if you laid a wrench across the battery terminals).

Putting in the new one is where you really need to be careful. Just get someone to hold an umbrella over you. Water is an excellent conductor.

You should be more worried about blowing out fuses and relays in your car (if the terminals should electrically connect), then of getting a shock. Just make sure you keep the new battery dry (around the terminals) as you put it in and you’ll be fine.

augustlan's avatar

Good luck!

googlybear's avatar

Old battery shouldn’t be problem…be careful with the new battery and make sure it’s dry…

Trustinglife's avatar

Update: dead car battery removed in the rain!

Now I just have to get to the auto parts store to get a new battery and install the new one. I know this is not a big deal for some people. For me, I feel totally overwhelmed. Wish me luck!

Trustinglife's avatar

Thanks for reading these – it’s cathartic for me to share this here!

Update 2: roommate drove me to auto parts store. I was worried that the car wasn’t starting because of the alternator, not the battery. That’d be a bigger problem. But in the store, they tested the battery, and it was dead. Wahooooo! Bought a new one. It’s raining steadily now, so hopefully I’ll get to install the new one in the morning. Whew! Relief to not have to do anything more about it today!

augustlan's avatar

No electrocution so far! Good work : )

Trustinglife's avatar

Thanks Aug!

Maverick's avatar

Well, it could still be your alternator. If it is shot it would not have charged your old battery. If you put the new battery in an it also dies, then the alternator would be the next thing to check.

Trustinglife's avatar

That scares me, but it is an excellent point. Thank you Maverick!

bodyhead's avatar

I wouldn’t worry about it. Typically they test your battery. If your battery doesn’t respond properly under load, it will test bad. If it’s bad you need to replace it.

If you have a bad alternator, it doesn’t automatically make your battery go bad. That’s nonsense.

Trusting, I’m willing to bet when you get that new battery in there, it’ll start right up.

Maverick's avatar

I didn’t say that a bad alternator would make the new battery go bad. I said that if it died, as in also lost Its charge, then that would be an indicator that the alternator was bad.

bodyhead's avatar

@Maverick, Yea that could be, but at most car battery places, they will test your old battery to see how it performs under load. This is how they tell if it’s malfunctioning or not.

If it’s just lost it’s charge, most of the time they will recharge it for free (especially if you bought your battery there).

Having a dead battery is usually more of a case of a steady discharge somewhere, low fluid in the battery, or a malfunctioning battery.

When your alternator goes bad, your car will stall or stop running while it’s idling or your electronic devices will start getting noticeably less power (your headlights dim, your radio volume drops, your speedometer panel dims, etc.)

There could be a case where the alternator breaks just a little bit and exhibits none of the symptoms I’ve described and the voltage drops to level that lets you keep driving but doesn’t charge the battery. It could happen. I’ve only been fixing cars for 10 years so I haven’t seen everything.

Typically when you take your battery to a testing facility and they tell you that there is a malfunction in the battery, that’s your whole problem.

augustlan's avatar

@Trusting: What was the outcome?

Trustinglife's avatar

Success! Got new car battery in, and the car started up! Yahoo!!!!! So excited. I’m driving down to Monterey as soon as I pack.

Thanks for your advice and reassurance, y’all!

augustlan's avatar

Yay! Have fun : )

friendlyguy95055's avatar

Wow, the car battery is only 12V, how can you get shock from a 12V battery? It does not have enough voltage to pump the current into your body. I am not sure why people thinking 12V can shock? You can be feeling a little by around 50V and a little more at 80V and can be dead at 100V+ (but the current must be at least 200mA). In this case, the 12V CAN NOT DO ANYTHING HARMFUL.

friendlyguy95055's avatar

I have cleaning my engine and I put straight water into the engine without any problem. All sockets harness and all things are sealed so no water can get in. However, do not touch the spark plus wires when the car is running, you may be killed due to high voltage and high current.

friendlyguy95055's avatar

Try this for yourself. Use your finger and touch both sides of the battery (neg) & (pos). Do you feel anything? Nothing. 12V can not do anything unless we convert them to a higher voltage & lower current like the ballast for the headlight – can be converted to 20K – 23K volts (so the voltage can jump) but very low current however, it may have enough current to kill someone.

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