2015 Dodge Viper GT: Won't Start After a Wash
by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on November 4, 2015
The typical Monday-morning routine for the editorial staff here at Edmunds almost always includes a car wash. So everything was business as usual when I took our long-term 2015 Dodge Viper to the car wash last week, until I tried to leave.
For cars like the Viper (i.e. expensive), we typically go with a hand wash. This means a guy with a hose and a bucket did the work of getting the car clean. And afterwards, when he handed me the keys, the car wouldn't start.
"Chug chug chug chug chug". Nope.
"Um, that's weird," I thought. I waited a few seconds then tried again.
"Chug chug chug chug chug chug chug". Still nothing.
I climbed out to inspect the car. Maybe someone had put a banana in the side pipes? I looked, but found nothing. Before I had a chance to open the hood, the manager of the car wash wandered over to see what the trouble was. He climbed in, pumped the gas pedal a few times (I wondered for a moment if our Viper was carbureted and no one told me) and the car started for him, first try. We made a few jokes about the car not starting and I left, confused by the whole experience.
Back in the office, I asked around.
Apparently this wasn't an isolated incident. Features Editor Mike Magrath confirmed that this sort of thing had happened to him before and Road Test Editor Carlos Lago suggested that water might've made its way in to the engine bay through the open slot in the nose. I scoured the manual for any warnings about driving the Viper in rain or avoiding water in the nose, but there was nothing.
For now, I'm considering the water-in-the-engine-bay hypothesis the only viable explanation. In the future, I'll be sure to warn the porters to keep the hose away from the gaping hole in the Viper's hood.
Travis Langness, Social Media Editor