Tips for Driving in an Arizona Monsoon

Don’t Get Caught Off Guard When Driving in a Torrential Arizona Rain Storm

We’ve all been there… Speeding down the highway at an ungodly hour, with rain hammering down on the windshield while your wipers barely keep up. Driving in monsoonal rain is nerve-racking to say the least, but what about the mechanical effects on the vehicle itself?

As automotive specialists in Arizona, we know how detrimental heavy rain can be to a car’s performance. And as a driver, it’s important for you to understand just how damaging torrential rain can be…


Rain can churn up roadside debris, which can be sucked into the engine’s components as you plough through a down pour it ploughs through a downpour. This means that leaves, dirt and other elements can be sucked into filters, and eventually clog them up. As a result, the engine’s ability to transport vital liquids and oils through the system is compromised. Cue engine seizures, overheated radiators and other major headaches.


There’s an intrinsic relationship between rain and stopping distances, and it’s not a good one. When roads are wet, braking performance drops as the wheels have less grip on the road. Pay particular attention during the first few heavy rains of the season, as these tend to dislodge oil that’s accumulated over the summer months. This tends to create ultra-slippery conditions on the road. The general rule of thumb is to multiply safe stopping distances by two.

Electric fan motors

Most well maintained electric fan motors are safeguarded against rain. However in monsoon storms, leakage can occur. This can short out motors, and cause the engine to overheat. Avoid this scenario by regularly checking for leaks during wet weather months, and keeping an eye on the temperature gauge when driving in heavy rain.


A common issue encountered when driving in the rain is squeaking belts. Moisture can increase wear and tear, as well as facilitate the growth of mold and dry rot. If you hear subtle squeaking noises after driving in wet weather be sure to check your belts to make sure they’re clean, and dry.


Handling performance, braking power and drainage are all compromised in heavy rain. One of the most dangerous side effects occurs when tires hydroplane on water, which causes temporary loss of direction. Grip is also compromised, which drags down response times and can send vehicles reeling out of control, even at the smallest of movements.

Intake pipe

In general, intake pipes are pretty resilient when it comes to avoiding the wrath of rain. However, when the skies really open up, it can simulate ‘underwater’ conditions. This causes the air intake pipe to suck up water which makes a beeline for cylinders. In response, the engine cuts out and descends into a hydrostatic lock. In severe cases this can trigger deformation of mechanical parts, which in a worst case scenario could call for a complete engine replacement.

The absolute safest way to drive in monsoonal conditions is to have an in-depth understanding of how heavy rain affects a vehicle’s performance. All drivers should understand the risks, as well as know how to manage them. And of course, Kelly Clark Automotive is your trusted on-call top Phoenix auto repair shop, should you encounter any issues as a result of driving in heavy Arizona rain.