Copper and water’s effect on the electrical system

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Updated Nov 27, 2012

Once moisture penetrates copper wiring, it can have a negative impact on a vehicle’s electrical system. According to Phillips, when given a gateway into a vehicle’s electrical system the copper wiring soaks up moisture and contaminants like a dry sponge.

On a truck, wiring heats up and cools down on a constant basis. When the wiring heats up, it expands, and when it cools down, it shrinks, sucking the moisture in.
To show the effect of water on copper, Phillips placed one end of a 7 in. piece of 12-gauge copper wire stripped about ½ in. on either end in approximately half a cup of regular tap water mixed with a teaspoon of salt.
After sitting for approximately 24 hours, the salt water already had made its way through the wire, and approximately 40 hours later, corrosion was visible in the pool formed below the wire outside the cup.

This is why Phillips says it is important to maintain your customers’ vehicles and take all preventive measures you can to keep corrosion out. This will help ensure the electrical system lasts longer.
In general, the best thing you can do is to make sure all open connections are resealed properly.


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