- The YouTube video above shows a man spraying his 2020 Chevrolet Corvette with water in a carwash.
- Moments later, the man reveals the water has made its way through the very large heat extraction vents into the engine compartment.
- By the miracle of modern technology, the car is completely unfazed by this totally normal event.
According to a totally made-up statistic, at least a full 30 percent of what’s posted on the internet is someone discovering something totally new to them that is already widely known to the larger world. Here’s one example of that: A YouTuber by the name of Morgan Crosbie has discovered that a car’s engine bay is not watertight. The only thing making this remotely notable is that the car in Crosbie’s video is a 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, and you, a rabid car enthusiast, have a seemingly insatiable appetite for all things mid-engine C8 Corvette. Unfortunately, that same appetite has a lot of people watching Crosbie’s video.
In the video, which we have embedded above but do not recommend you watch, Crosbie uses the wand from a coin-operated carwash to spray water over the back of his Corvette to simulate rain falling on the car. He then opens the rear decklid, which has several vents in it, to discover—gasp!—water has made its way through those vents and into the engine compartment with the Corvette’s 6.2-liter V-8. We didn’t reach out to Chevrolet for comment because what Crosbie demonstrates happens in every car driven in the rain, through a carwash, or through a puddle. Engineers know water will get into the engine compartment, and they design rain trays, drain channels, and watertight electrical connectors specifically because of that.
A car’s engine needs air to operate. It combines that air with fuel, then ignites that mixture to produce power. It also requires air to remove heat from the radiators so the engine can operate at its ideal temperature. If engineers made a car’s engine compartment watertight, they would also choke off that crucial supply of air.
With a few exceptions, most front-engine cars rely on air coming through the grilles at the front of the car and exiting through the bottom side of the engine compartment. In a high-performance mid-engine car like the Corvette, managing the engine’s heat and the airflow necessary to remove that heat is a much bigger challenge. The vents over the Corvette’s engine were designed for hot air to exhaust through them, but water—from a rainstorm or a carwash wand—will also enter through these vents. That’s okay, though, because Chevy engineers designed their car to be impervious to both rain water and carwash stupidity.