Why won't my car start in the rain?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Dec 01, 1988

Dear Tom and Ray,
I drive a 1985 Subaru Wagon. This car is fabulous, except, every time it rains and I shut the car off--but continue listening to the radio--within 4 or 5 minutes, the car won't start again. This only happens when it rains.

RAY: Sounds like a safety feature to me. It keeps you from driving that beast in the rain.

TOM: Actually, the fact that it happens only when it's raining indicates that the problem is probably electrical. My guess is that your spark plug wires are bad, and need replacing. If electricity is escaping through worn out wires, there may not be enough juice getting to the plugs to start the car.

RAY: Also, if your battery is weak, and you drain it by playing the radio with the engine off, you may be contributing to this problem. A weak battery combined with old, damp wires could be what's leaving you out in the rain. Replace the wires, and have your mechanic check out your battery and charging system. In the mean time, stop listening to the radio. I can assure you that there's never anything worth listening to anyway.

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