If lightning strikes a tree in your yard and your car is close by, can this cause your car to not work properly? I had an employee call in stating that lightning struck a tree beside their mobile home and now her car will not go into reverse or drive, sounded like it was running, so I'm a little baffled at this. Can any one shed a little "light" , please.

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    If a frog jumps onto a freeway, will it get hit? That depends on a lot of factors, but the short answer is, in the worst case scenario, yes. Cars can even explode if hit by a lightning strike which I believe meets your criteria of "not run". However, statistically afaik, you stand a good chance of your car running after a lightning strike.
    – Neil
    May 3 '16 at 12:04
  • The most likely casualties of a lightning strike are the electronic systems. The (hydraulic/mechanical) automatic transmission failing strikes me as unusual.
    – Hobbes
    May 3 '16 at 19:23
  • @Hobbes - While yours is an old comment, I felt the need to reply ... even though an automatic transmission is hydro/mechanical in nature, almost every automatic transmission run in modern vehicles are controlled electronically. I know GM started using electronic control in the early '90s ... would assume most every other car manufacturer did then as well. Jun 22 '18 at 17:55

Yes. A sufficiently large EMP will wipe out or damage the engine control computer or other electronics. However, bear in mind that the electronics most likely to be damaged will be the car radio because of its connection to an antenna and the fact that radios are far less robust than electronics designed to work in the engine area.

  • WOW!!! That's good to know....Thanks for the reply...
    – Jackie G
    May 3 '16 at 13:16

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