Why Water Damage Cell Phone Repairs Often Fail

We get this call all the time: “Do you guys fix water damaged phones? I just dropped mine in the toilet.” Yes, the toilet is one of the top 5 reasons for water damage repair. A few others include “I dropped it in my coffee,” “My friend tipped her beer over on it,” and “I was taking a bath.” I’m not kidding about that last one. You’d be shocked how many people use their phone while taking a bath.

But I digress…

The point of this post is to let you know that fixing a water damaged phone is, at best, a 50/50 proposition. We know because we have made several different attempts to make this repair work and the best that we can do, or anyone else we’ve ever heard of, is about a 50% long-term success ratio.

Short vs Long Term Success

It’s not uncommon for us to “fix” a water damage phone and everything seems to be working fine. Then 3 days (or 3 weeks) later, we get a call that the wifi is out… or the camera… or it won’t charge… or the phone just completely dies… And we could go on.

You get the idea.

Why is Water Damage Hard to Fix

Let’s start with how liquid damages a cell phone. There are three basic things it can do (and it can do 1, 2, or all 3 of these):

Water Damage Repair Gotchas
Water Damage Repair Gotchas
  1. Some of the non-motherboard components get damaged. This might be the battery, screen, power button, charging port, etc. These are generally pretty easy to replace and not a problem if you can identify which components are bad.
  2. Some of the components on the motherboard get shorted out and damaged beyond repair. This basically turns your phone into a paperweight (you can do some soldering tricks but they aren’t usually economically feasible).
  3. Some of the wiring on the motherboard corrodes and creates a shortage with other wiring. This is often fixable – at least in the short term.

The biggest problem with water damage is this: It doesn’t all happen at once.

Think about a rusting car. Your car doesn’t rust the first winter you drive it on salt-covered roads. But after 10 years of winter driving you start to see rust. Then every year a little more rust. It develops slowly over time.

The same thing happens with water damaged cell phones – only instead of years we’re talking days or weeks. You can clean everything out using a sonic cleaner and electronics safe cleaning solution. That might remove 95% of all corrosion and debris. But that other 5% doesn’t stay put. Like rust on a car, it slowly starts to grow over the course of a week, a month, or 3 months. It will begin to spread until one day your wifi won’t work, your camera goes out, your phone stops charging, the screen goes black, or some combination of all those things.

 

Should You Get Your Water Damaged Phone Fixed?

This really depends on your objectives. If you expect to get back a fully functioning phone that works like new and continues to work like new for the next 2 years, then no. You shouldn’t get your water damaged phone fixed because you will likely be upset at the results.

Here are the two cases where I would say water damage repair is worth pursuing:

  1. You have some valuable data on your phone (like pictures) that aren’t backed up. Our water damage repair can be successful in getting this data off your phone.
  2. You expect to upgrade your phone soon and just want to limp to the finish line. You’re okay with some of the functionality not working (or working for awhile and then going out).

Water Damage Fix from Jet City Device Repair

We do offer a service to fix water damage phones. However, we refer to it as data recovery because that is what we are offering. We don’t make any promises about the phones functionality immediately afterwards or any time in the future.

There is no warranty on our water damage repairs.

This is because our main goal is to bring your phone far enough back to life to get your data off the phone. Any additional functionality is great, but we can’t guarantee that will happen, or, if it does, that the functionality will last.

No Fix, No Charge

One thing we do promise on water damage phones: If we can’t get the phone operating well enough to get your data, then we won’t charge you anything.

 

2 thoughts on “Why Water Damage Cell Phone Repairs Often Fail

  1. Pingback: Cell Phones and Water Damage: Why Home Repairs Typically Fail - Phone and Computer Repair

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