Auto Care

How to Get Rid of Car Condensation

You’ve just made your way out the door during your morning routine. As you head to your car you juggle your briefcase, umbrella, and your cup of coffee. After finally managing to wrestle the door open and pack all your things into the backseat for the morning commute, you sit down in the driver’s seat. That’s when you see it: the windshield is covered in tiny water droplets. To make things worse, they’re on the INSIDE of the glass. Of course, you don’t have a rag handy so you wipe the window with the side of your hand then wipe the moisture off on your pants, gross.

If you have an early commute, odds are high that you’ve been through this situation before. But what, you might ask yourself, can you do to get rid of this situation in the first place? It turns out that there are a few steps you can take to remove car condensation from your life for good. Read on and you will see how to make car condensation a thing of the past. It’s a lot easier than you think.

1. Dry out your car.

Condensation in your car results when excess humidity becomes trapped inside. Where does this humidity come from you ask? Whenever you track water into your car, whether on your shoes or on your umbrella, it becomes trapped inside. Humidity will also enter your car when you open your door or window on rainy or damp days. It doesn’t really matter how the humidity gets in for the most part, it’s when it cannot get out that problem start.

When it’s warm outside, the sun turns your car into a mobile greenhouse. If the inside of your car is warm, water evaporates and floats in the air in the form of water vapor. The problem begins when the sun goes down and your car cools off. When this happens, the air in the cabin of your vehicle cools down and the water vapor condenses. Because your windows are cooler than anything else in your car, when air comes into contact with them, it cools down rapidly and condensation forms on their surface.

One way to keep condensation from forming on your windows is to remove the excess humidity in your car. On a warm and dry day, try leaving the windows of your car open. Take the floor mats out of your car and leave them on your driveway to dry out in the hot sun.

Once you’ve dried out everything in your car, it’s important to prevent humidity from building up in the future. To accomplish this, don’t leave any humid objects like wet umbrellas, or athletic or swimwear in your car overnight.

2. Crack the windows.

Leaving your windows open at night can also combat car condensation. You don’t want to leave them open so wide that a critter wanders in and dibs your vehicle for its new home. Just leaving them open by a sliver should be more than enough.

Of course, you’ll want to check the forecast to ensure rain won’t get into your car. Buying rain guards for your car windows can solve this problem though. These black pieces of plastic sit over your car window and won’t let rain in. As an added bonus, they hang over the window enough that passers-by won’t be able to easily notice that your window is open a slice.

This approach works best if you can park your car in a garage or live in a safe neighborhood where risk of someone seizing the opportunity to break into your vehicle is low.

3. Let the air in.

Managing the air control knobs in your car can go a long way to preventing unwanted car condensation. If it is a dry day, use the ‘through flow option’ to allow outside air into your vehicle. This will help to vent the stale, humid, air from your car. Turning on the air conditioner helps to further dry the air in your vehicle. On wet or rainy days, use your car’s air recirculation option. This will prevent moisture-ridden air from outside from entering your car and adding to your condensation problem.

4. Wash your windows.

Dirt and dust particles on the inside of your car’s window give moisture something to cling to. Make a habit of washing the inside surface of your windshield, along with any other windows in your car. Use a cleaner specifically formulated for windows and wipe your windows dry with a microfiber cloth or a bunched up piece of newspaper. This will help to leave the surface free of debris.

Cleaning out your car is also a good idea. There are small drains in your car (some as small as a few millimeters) designed to drain moisture. If your car is dirty these drains can become blocked and will no longer be able to function properly. Give your car a thorough vacuuming to help with this.

5. Check your seals.

If you feel like you’ve tried everything but your condensation problem still won’t let-up, you might have a damaged seal somewhere in your car. To see if any of the seals on your doors are damaged, open and inspect each door one at a time.

When you open your door, notice the black rubber seal around the edge. This seal should be springy when you press on it, not dry or cracking, and should be free of tears, rips, or holes. If you find that the seal around any of your doors (including your trunk or hatch) is damaged, it will need to be repaired.

A damaged seal will allow rain to enter your car. Depending on the severity of the damage to the seal, this can be a very big problem or quite a small one. If you suspect this to be your problem, most vehicle mechanics can replace the damaged seal. There are also products on the market which can spot-repair seals which are lightly damaged.

If your door seals all seem okay, it is time to check the seal on your windows and on your front and rear windshields. To accomplish this, first ensure all your windows are tightly closed. Then, one at a time, spray each window using a garden hose, making sure to hit every spot on the window. You don’t need to soak the area, just a quick squirt in each spot will suffice. After spraying a window, check inside the vehicle. If you notice water inside, the seal on the window you just sprayed will need to be replaced. Repeat this process for each window/windshield on your car.

Car condensation might seem like a minor inconvenience but it could be an early warning sign of greater problems with your vehicle. Being proactive and treating the source of this problem can pay off in the long run: so try out a few of the steps above. One might be the very thing you need to put an end to your condensation problems for good.

About the author

Nicole Harding

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