Does Your Car Smell Musty or Feel Damp? Is Water Pouring on Your Foot?

by | Apr 1, 2015 | Auto Questions, Car Problems & Repairs

As April showers head our way, here are a few things to consider.

Is your car a convertible? Does it have a sunroof? Is water pouring on your foot when you turn? Do you park under a lot of trees? Does your car smell musty or feel damp?  If so, check out this important tip!  It could save you a lot of money.


It is critically important that water not leak into your car during a rain storm. If water gets into your car’s interior, it can cause extensive damage to the expensive computers found in today’s vehicles. Some European cars have several computers near the floor that can easily be damaged by water or even very high humidity.

The tell-tale sign of there being water in a car is a musty smell.  The car can also feel damp or humid. When the situation is really bad, you could notice your windows steaming up on the inside!

If you drive a convertible, you should know that it is difficult to keep convertible cars sealed as they age, so it’s important to be on the lookout for leaks. And, if you do get a leak, it’s important that you identify it early, and find the problem. It can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars!

Like convertibles, cars with sun roofs can also leak badly. Part of the regular maintenance services on your vehicle should be to check the water drain holes. If these drain holes become blocked water can migrate into the car. You are more likely to have this issue if you park your car in an area with a lot of trees.

Another way for water to leak into your car is if the air conditioning drain becomes blocked.  In this instance you may notice water pouring onto your foot, or into the passenger compartment under the dash.

Dampness isn’t just a problem inside the passenger section of the car, it can also cause a problem if it occurs in your trunk. Sensitive items are located in the side panels and under the floor. Just as in the interior of the passenger compartment, if you notice any sign of dampness in your trunk you should have it checked out.

If your car does become water logged, it will need to dried out completely.  This may require removing the seats, the carpets and any electrical items so they can be dried out.

Importantly, your car does not have to be flooded like the ones in these photos for there to be a problem. Just the dampness can wreak havoc with the electronics and other automotive electrical components.  So… the bottom line is try to keep your car interior dry, and if you do notice a problem, respond quickly to get the problem corrected.

When one of our BMW customers came back to his parked car after a storm the car started ok, but the windows steamed up, and then the electrical system went crazy, Rain had flooded the car and the trunk.  Both LH foot wells, the woofer and the modules were all full of water!




bmw getting water damage repaired in Columbia MD


Our first step:  Drain the water

Step two:  Dry out the car

Step three (and critically important): Find the leak(s).

To locate the leaks, we took the car into the wash bay to reproduce the storm and find the problem.  In this case the sun roof drains had been blocked.

And so, with April showers and summer showers fast approaching — our advice to you….”Keep dry.”

If you live in the Columbia, MD area and are already experiencing these problems, we can help.  Make an appointment or call us at 410-381-2700.


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About the Author

About Brian England

Brian England, the current president of BA Auto Care (formerly British American Auto Care), got his start with an auto apprenticeship in a small town in northwest of London. He came to the U.S. in 1972 to work for a Land Rover dealer in Rockville, MD. A few years later, he started British American Auto Care with his wife, Jennifer. Brian is a big believe in preventative maintenance, and his philosophy is to encourage and educate drivers on the benefits of a regular maintenance plan.