Why Are Your Car Windows Wet in the Morning?

Car with morning dew raindrops wet visible on the side of the car and windows sunrise

Have you ever woken up late, got ready for work quickly, and ran outside to your car only to find it covered in a thick layer of water? Now you’re running even more behind because you have to wait for the windshield to clear up.

Car windows are wet in the morning because of condensation. The temperature of the outside air versus your windows differs, causing this condensation to happen. If warm and cold air meet, moisture typically develops upon a surface.

You may be wondering why this happens, even if it is warm outside. It isn’t frost, so why does it keep you from leaving your driveway immediately? Keep reading to understand the science behind wet car windows in the morning and what is happening in the atmosphere. Find out why the inside of your car can also get this pesky condensation.

The Science behind Wet Car Windows

Your car windows are wet because the glass of your windows is typically cold, especially at night when there is no sunlight hitting them. The air in the morning is typically going to be a bit more moist and warm. When the warm air meets with the cold surface of the windows, moisture is going to develop. This causes your windows to fog up and makes it challenging to see out of them.

There is a specific dew point when the air begins to cool and cannot support water any longer. This is when the water begins to condense and sits on your windows as fog or condensation. You may often see condensation on the grass as well, and this is the same idea.

Wind could potentially be a factor as to why certain cars have more water than others. If the wind is coming in from a certain direction, that cool air is going to produce condensation much quicker.

If you live in an extremely cold climate, you may be experiencing the frosting of your windows as well. The cold temperatures make the water freeze. As it begins to melt when the temperatures rise, it becomes challenging to fully clear your windows.

Car driving down a scenic route early in the morning at sunrise with dew mist visible

What Causes Condensation on the Inside of car Windows?

Do you also notice the inside of your car windows often seems wetter than the outside? They didn’t experience any air temperatures changing, so how is this possible?

The condensation within your car windows can be caused by a factor of things.

Items inside the car

Items inside your car can cause condensation, such as blankets, umbrellas, or outerwear. These can increase the level of dampness if they have been worn or have been exposed to any type of water. They will enter the atmosphere, meet with the different temperatures, and create condensation.

Containers with Liquid

Any old bottles or cups that have held liquid can also produce moisture. The liquid within these containers will eventually evaporate and that moisture will be stuck in your car if it is closed and not exposed to any air.

Coffee cup in the cup holder of a car close up

Trapped Moisture

Any type of moisture that may be trapped within your car can cause this frustrating condensation. Be sure to check the interior of your car before you get out every time. Were your shoes wet? If so, your car mats may have absorbed some of the water, only to later release it into your car.

Fluid Leaks

If you know for sure that you haven’t brought anything with added moisture into your car for a while, and the condensation is still occurring in the morning, check to make sure that your car doesn’t have any leaks.

If the condensation looks greasier than water, be sure to check if your heater and coolant are working properly. Any type of leak can cause your windshield to fog up, and it is much more dangerous. Be sure to take it to a mechanic if this is happening!

If you are experiencing a wet car window every morning, check to ensure that the inside of your car is void of any excess moisture. It will change how often you need to wait for the condensation to leave before you can get your car moving!

Fog mist on the windshield glass of the car

How to Eliminate the Wet Windows Quickly

If you find yourself in a rush in the morning and your windows are wet, wait it out! Do not drive with these wet windows. Visibility is extremely important when driving. If you can’t see when you are driving, this is extremely dangerous for you and others. The condensation on your windows can be quickly removed, so please be patient. Here is what you can do.

  • If the condensation is on the outside of your car, sometimes your windshield wipers making a few swipes will do the trick. This isn’t always the case, though.
  • You can use your air conditioner or air blower on your front windshield to help clear this condensation pretty quickly. The temperature of the air must be different from the air in your car to ensure it will go away, though.
  • If the wet windows are due to frost and colder weather, an ice scraper and the car heater will be your best bet. Frost and ice will take longer to get rid of, and then leave your car with longer-lasting condensation. The heater will help rid you of the ice, and keep some of that condensation away as you are driving.
A man pressing the defrost button on the interior cabin car climate control inside the vehicle car

Conclusion

Make sure you clean your windshield often, both inside and out. The pesky condensation can cling to the dirt particles that are attached to your windshield. Having a clean windshield will help you eliminate the condensation quicker, and keep it away a bit more.

If you know it won’t rain overnight, you could leave your windows cracked open. This would allow the natural air to go through your car and help eliminate the possibility of extra condensation inside your car.

If you have tried everything to eliminate the condensation, you could even invest in a car moisture absorber.  This will suck in any extra moisture that is present that you may have missed. You may find that it really helps eliminate having a wet car window in the morning.

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References

NAPA

Lindleys Autocentres

Hi-Tech Car Care

Cars.com

Why Do Only Some of My Car’s Windows Get Condensation on Them?

Ernest Martynyuk

An automotive enthusiast who's been tinkering with vehicles since I was 15-years old. Repairing automotive electronics has been my main job for over a decade now and have a passion for everything technical regarding cars.

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