When it comes to your car, there’s nothing quite as destructive as moisture, and even though it seems minute, a little bit of condensation inside of your vehicle can wreak havoc on it.
A car dehumidifier is a simple fix to this problem, but if you’ve never used one before you’re probably wondering what they’re all about.
What does a car dehumidifier do? A car dehumidifier removes the moisture from the air inside the vehicle by absorbing it, usually with some sort of absorbent crystals.
These devices can be either single or multiple-use, and electric or non-electric, depending on you and your car’s needs.
With all the damage a little bit of moisture can do to your car’s interior, you don’t want to take the chance of this occurring every day.
We’re here to guide you through the role of a dehumidifier and how to find the right one, as well as the potential damage that moisture can do to your car and ways to prevent it.
The Damage Humidity and Moisture Can Do
Cars are designed to shield you from the elements outside, but when a little bit of moisture gets in, all bets are off.
With just a small amount of humidity, moisture, or condensation in your vehicle, you can experience these types of damage:
- Mould and mildew: Mould and mildew can start to grow in just 24 hours, and once you’ve got it in your car, it’s hard to get rid of. Even a small amount of moisture can cause mould growth and the spores can travel throughout the car’s interior and spread rapidly.
- Rust and corrosion: The metal parts in your car’s interior are susceptible to rust and eventually corrosion. Although it might seem that this is only an issue that the car’s exterior has to deal with, the moisture inside would deem otherwise.
- Unpleasant odours: If you’ve ever left a wet towel somewhere it shouldn’t be, you know the unmistakable smell of dampness and how unpleasant it is. With moisture inside your vehicle, you’ll be trapped with this smell, and it’s hard to get out of a confined space like a car.
- Damp seats and floor: Sitting on a damp seat is never comfortable, especially when it’s already wet and cold outside. Likewise, a wet floor in your car isn’t welcome either. Humidity can become easily trapped in soft fabrics like upholstery and carpet and needs to be avoided.
- Damaging electronics: There are many electric components inside of a car including radio, lights, electric windows, and more. All of these are susceptible to damage in the presence of moisture and need to be kept dry always.
How Condensation Happens in Your Car
With knowledge of how moisture can damage your car, we now need to find out how it gets there in the first place.
Although cars are generally protected from rain and other weather conditions, there are still a few ways that moisture can get inside or even form when we’re not in it.
The most common cause of moisture in a car is through the process of condensation.
This occurs when the temperature inside is warmer than outside, and the warm arm in the car against the cold windscreen causes the water vapour to turn into liquid water.
Particularly during winter and the colder temperatures, this is more likely to occur, and if you live somewhere with frequently cold weather, it’s a common occurrence.
Moisture can also build up due to humidity and if you live in a climate where these kinds of weather conditions are common, you’ve probably had your fair share of it.
Other times, we could be at fault for inviting this moisture in through actions like leaving wet towels or clothes in the car, letting our children or dogs sit in the car after swimming, or even water bottles or drinks left with their lids off.
Other times, this condensation is caused by a fault with the car, like a coolant leaking from a heater matrix.
You might have a leak in the sunroof or one of your car’s windows isn’t doing up entirely and sealing which can lead to water and moisture getting in, causing the condensation to build up in your car.
The Role of a Dehumidifier
If you fit into one of these categories and find your car always has more moisture than it should inside, you’ll want to do whatever you can to eradicate it.
Dehumidifiers have long been an easy way to draw out this excess moisture and there are plenty made just for the unique environment of a car’s interior.
A dehumidifier features an absorbent material that draws the moisture out and stores it so that it’s not left to sit in the car.
The most common type of car dehumidifier is a small pouch or device that features absorbent calcium chloride crystals or charcoal-based crystals, but some plug in and run on electricity, even if they might not be as suitable for vehicle use.
Rather than allowing the moisture to sit in the car and do damage, leaving one of these pouches or devices in the car will absorb it and store it.
When you return to the car, the extra work you have to do to get rid of this moisture will be done for you, and you can simply dispose of the packet or sachet, which should be noticeably heavier with all that it’s been able to absorb.
The issue of condensation can get quickly out of hand which is why you want to do whatever possible to remove it and prevent it from entering the car in the first place.
Try to determine how and where the moisture is getting into your car and see if you can rectify it, otherwise look at the benefits a dehumidifier has to offer.
Features to Look For in a Car Dehumidifier
Dehumidifiers are a popular device these days and you can get them everywhere from the home to the car.
If you’re looking for a vehicle-specific one, there are certain features you’ll have to weigh up to make sure it meets your needs of keeping your car moisture-free.
- Type: The two categories of car dehumidifiers you’ll likely find are the bags with absorbent materials inside or a plug-in device. For a car, the best option is the absorbent bag as they’re easier, portable, cheap, and effective, but you might prefer to have one that plugs into the car and provides a little more power.
- Reusable or Disposable: Some dehumidifiers are designed for one-time use and others can be reused. Depending on what you hope to get from it, you’ll likely find one a better option than the other. Those who want to store their car for the winter or longer periods might find the disposable type better, and if you want to use it every day, a reusable device will be cheaper and produce less waste.
- Size: The size of a dehumidifier will dictate how effective it is but also where it fits in your car. Most of them are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and still absorb the moisture inside of a standard car so there’s no need to get anything too large.
- Price: The good news is, most packet humidifiers are cheap, so you can expect to pay no more than £10 for a quality one. Some might like to have a few ready for action or just try one and see how effective it is, but either way, you won’t break the bank. The plug-in humidifiers are a little more expensive at around£20 for a basic model and over £100 for the premium ones, so it depends on the features you’re after.
Other Tips for Dealing With Car Condensation
Before you get to the stage of needing a full-time dehumidifier in your car, there may be other solutions you can try to keep the water out.
Try these tips to ensure your car is moisture free and limit the amount of condensation that builds up inside before it gets out of hand:
- Keep it clean: Cleaning the car inside and out can prevent condensation in two ways. First, it ensures there are no dirt particles to attract moisture, and second, allows you to regularly inspect the car for items like wet clothing and water bottles that can lead to interior moisture.
- Check the windows: A car’s windows are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to unwanted moisture. You’ll want to make sure they’re kept clean so the unwanted dirt doesn’t prevent them from sealing shut when you do them up. Sometimes, the seal might need replacing to keep the air and moisture from getting in the car, so inspect them to find out.
- Look for leaks and holes: If you suspect the moisture is coming from somewhere else, do a thorough inspection of the car and look for leaks and holes. If you can’t find it but you’re sure it’s there, have a professional do the same.
- Turn on the heater: In the morning when the condensation is high, jump in the car and turn on the AC or heater while you wipe down the windows. By removing the window condensation manually, you’re ensuring it has nowhere else to go, like the small cracks and crevices of your car.
- Air out the car: When you’re able to, leave the windows down in the car and park it in a sunny location for a few hours. This can let some natural air circulate through and the heat from the sun will help dry any excess moisture out. Never leave it longer than a few hours though, otherwise, you could do more damage than help.
Moisture Free Motoring
When you live somewhere as moist as the UK, it makes sense to have some sort of protection in place for your car.
A simple dehumidifier designed for this purpose will get rid of those frosty windows and prevent moisture from getting into the tight spaces of your car, no matter what the weather outside is doing.
Humidity and moisture can be killers when it comes to a car’s interior, and anything we can do to prevent their presence is a smart move.
To help you find out more about the role that moisture plays in a car and what a humidifier can do about it, we’ve answered a few FAQs on the matter that might be useful.
Do Car Humidifiers Clean the Air?
A car humidifier is only intended to remove moisture from the air, and not purify, so if you’re looking for something to clean it, a purifier might be better.
These devices claim to remove pollutants from the air and there are car-friendly models available, but their effectiveness is still yet to be determined.
Why Is the Floor of My Car Wet When It Rains?
If you find that your car’s floor feels wet whenever it’s rained recently, there’s likely a leak somewhere allowing the water in.
The most common area for these leaks is behind the dashboard as the water then runs down to the ground, but you’ll want to inspect the entire car to make sure you find and fix it.
Will a Heater Stop Condensation?
When a car has internal condensation it’s usually due to humidity and lack of air circulation, so putting on a heater can help remove it.
With the added heat, the interior temperature of the car will be raised and the moisture-filled air will be transferred outside, so it can be one way to solve condensation.