After the Fire – Washing Soot and Ashes Off Your Car

ash auto

Wildfire Ashes Can Damage Vehicle Surfaces

The recent fires in Orange County could be as damaging to your car as to your lungs. These very fine particles of ashes can be abrasive and can scratch your vehicle’s paint.

While it might just seem like a little dust on your sparkling clear coat, owners should be quick to remove the deposits, or take measures to keep ashes off in the first place.

Global Director of Training at Meguiar’s says “Leaving an ash-covered car outside on wet nights or foggy mornings may very well result in chemical etching and, in some cases, serious damage to a vehicle’s painted surfaces.”

Once the fires subside, owners should give each vehicle a comprehensive cleaning, first washing away any remaining ash residue with a product specifically designed for autos.

The Auto Club offered these car tips for the coming weeks:

* Whenever possible, put the car in the garage or cover it, not only to protect it from ash but also to prolong the finish on the vehicle, the trim and the tires.

* If you can’t do either, gently wipe off the vehicle with a long-handled car duster.

* Wash the vehicle thoroughly with warm water, a soft mitt, a towel or sponge and car wash soap. Rinse the vehicle thoroughly and dry with a soft, clean towel or chamois.

* After the fires are over, inspect and, if necessary, replace the engine air filter, and have mechanics inspect and replace ventilation filters in the passenger compartment. A dirty air filter can restrict fuel economy and increase vehicle emissions.

* Check and, if necessary, change windshield wipers for the winter season. Make sure the wiper fluid reservoir is filled, and spray the windshield first to avoid scratching it.

* Keep the sunroof and windows closed. Outside of the fire areas, run the air conditioner on “recirculate” until the outside air quality significantly improves. Once the air quality is better, set the air conditioner on “fresh” or “vent” so you’re moving outside air inside. If the interior smells like smoke, add a vehicle air freshener to mask the odor.

* Thoroughly vacuum floor mats and cloth surfaces. Wear a mask if necessary.

* Once the air clears, wax your vehicle in the garage after it’s been washed and is cool. Car wax helps protect the finish against ash as well as hard-water spots and rain.

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