Did you ever get a shock while getting out of your car? Wondering why does my car shock me when I get out? You are experiencing static shock when getting out as you create static electricity by fractioning your cloth with a car seat that discharges through the earth via your body. Though this little zap isn’t harmful, it is shocking and painful.
Read on to learn the brief reason for experiencing this shock, its potential effects, and some smart yet simple tricks to get out of the car without getting shocked.
Why Does My Car Shock Me When I Get Out?
It’s a static electric shock that you feel while getting out of your car. Static electricity is created by the friction between the seat fabric of the car and your clothes. And you feel the shock due to connecting its bodywork to the earth to allow the electricity to run through the ground while getting out of the car.
It happens with any brand’s vehicle, and it’s quite impossible to prevent. But you can lessen the effect by applying some tricks that we’ll discuss later.
In general, static electricity build-up is easier in cold weather when the air remains dry. However, this does not mean you will not experience static electricity in the summer.
Despite this, the type of clothing you wear and the car seat also play a great role. During driving, dragging an ass with cotton jeans through the car’s synthetic or polymer seat produces electricity.
But Why Don’t We Get Shock While Inside Of The Car?
Our body is like a huge capacitor, and it stores the electricity created by friction. In addition, friction between non-conductive materials usually strips outer valance electrons, which creates an electrical imbalance or electrostatic charge.
But after getting near the metal doorknob, this electrostatic charge tends to reach some equilibrium. If the distance between the doorknob and your finger becomes smaller than the dielectric strength of air and your body charge, which is around 2500 V per inch, or 5,000 Volts, you will be shocked.
Changes are going closer than 2 inches to the metallic doorknob, and you’ll get a shock. However, it won’t kill you from electrocution, as the current level in your body is minuscule.
What Would Happen If You Get Static Shocked Every Time Get Out Of Car?
Though it’s shocking and a bit painful, static electricity won’t harm you even after getting it every time you come out of the car. The reason is that the human body is composed of huge amounts of water. The water is an incompetent conductor of electricity, particularly a small amount.
So static electricity won’t hurt or kill you. Aside from that, depending on the circumstances, static electricity can be a hazard or a nuisance for cloth. The spark of static electricity contains energy, clings to clothes, and can cause fire or even explosions.
According to Purdue University, static electricity can ignite gasoline vapors and end up causing fires at fuel pumps. Hence, it’s crucial to safely discharge static charge. To avoid this worse situation, dispel static electricity before fueling your car.
This will prevent a sustained fire or flash fire. In addition, don’t re-enter the car during gas pumping. Once it is done, return to your vehicle, retouch the metal door, and then you can head back to the pump.
How to Get out of a Car Without Getting Shocked?
You can prevent this zap or shock by either balancing the charge while getting out of the car or preventing the generation of this static electric charge. The simplest way to exit the car without receiving a static shock is to keep raising your ass when getting out of the car seat.
Hold the Car’s Metallic Part
You can reduce the effect by holding a metallic part of the car, such as the door edge, until you are completely out of the car. This way, the bodywork of the car will absorb the electricity slowly and prevent it from discharging to the earth and causing a shock.
Then touch something grounded and don’t touch the clothes or get back in the car. If you still get shocked holding the car’s metal part, possibly the paint on the metal isn’t conductive enough. If so, touch the bare metallic part.
Glasses are significantly less conductive than metal. Instead of grasping the metallic part of the vehicle, you can exit by grasping the glass window to experience mild static shock.
Use a Coin
Instead of holding the car with your hand directly, you can touch the vehicle using a metal object like a coin or metal ring to protect yourself. Though it’ll create a spark, it won’t shock you. Keep away from using the key as it includes an electronic chip. The static shock can damage the chip, making the key unusable.
Protect the Car Seat
Avoid using highly synthetic clothing. Instead, use seat covers made of wool, natural fiber, or virgin goat leather. Using saddle soap can also prevent generating static electricity. You can also use rubbing fabric softener sheets to eliminate the static charge for a couple of days. Woolen New Zealand carpet is another useful option.
It doesn’t create static like synthetic shoes or carpets. You can also spray a solution of a quart of water and a teaspoon of liquid fabric softener on the seat to avoid creating static electricity. Another alternative is anti-static sheets that you can place on the car seat to prevent building up a static charge.
Wear Safe Cloth
You should isolate yourself from this static charge inside the car. In this case, wear shoes with insulating soles to avoid feeling discharged while getting out of the vehicle. Wearing shoes with rubber or plastic soles and clothing made of synthetic fabrics can also help reduce shock.
Shoes with real leather soles or ESD shoes make it difficult to build up a charge on the body and can reduce the effect of static shock. Even these types of shoes discharge a charge through the ground after stepping onto them.
But don’t wear synthetic clothing, as this increase the chance of causing static shock, and be careful when wearing winter fabrics like polyester, wool, fur, rayon, and silk. During the slide out of the car, these will add a more static charge to the already charged area.
Some people also use antistatic straps under the car and drop them to the ground to discharge static charges through the ground. However, the car should have non-conductive tires to allow you to attach a grounding strap. Silica tires don’t have many electrical conductors and easily pick up static electricity during driving.
Vintage cars with flat rubber tires also increase the risk of static shock. In this case, connecting a static discharge strap to the car can solve the issue. But if your car’s tires are treated with carbon black, you don’t need the grounding strap, as these are conducive.
1. How to ground safely to avoid static shocks?
During grounding, attach a metal object like a key, coin, or paper clip to the metallic part of the car. The static electricity absorbed in your body will discharge through the metal and prevent you from jumping due to shock.
2. How to become anti-static?
You can apply plenty of methods to discharge static, and some handy options are wearing anti-static wrist straps, using an anti-static mat, or going barefoot. You can also store hardware in anti-static bags or use a humidifier to become anti-static.
3. Can a car door shock you?
Your car door or even woolen car coats and leather seats can cause you static shock during winter’s cold days. It can also produce a spark if you touch the door with metal.
After clearly understanding the reason why does my car shock me when I get out, hope you no longer panic. Even this mild static shock won’t harm except for a little jumping. If it is disturbing for you, hope you get enough ideas to handle and reduce the effect of the shock. While some of these tricks require practice, decorating the car properly and wearing proper clothing can lower your stress permanently.
Originally from England, I’ve been repairing cars for over 16 years and am an automotive journalist. I’ve been working on cars for as long as I can remember, and it’s one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.
It is my intention to be your mechanic friend, that person who will assist you with any problem you may have with your vehicle and explain in detail how the problem can be fixed to you as soon as possible.
I produce and anchor a weekly auto news program. As well as providing insights into all things automotive, including expert analysis of the latest trends in the automotive industry, and ensuring you always know where to go for the latest automotive news, I also provide insight into all things automotive before the news breaks.
If I am not working, I am a riding motorcyclist and I do volunteer work with local charities whenever I have time. When I’m not riding my motorcycles or volunteering at local charities, you will find me at home in Portland, Oregon.