Will Forest Fire Ash Hurt Your Car?
Yes, ash residue from forest fires can damage your vehicle’s finish. The good news is, the damage is easily preventable by having your car cleaned at a car wash. Why at a car wash and not in your driveway? That is why we’ve put together this article to help you understand what you need to know and what you need to do to prevent damage to your vehicle. Read on, and we will tell you why this is so important.
Ok, I Will Just Wipe It Off!
What’s the big deal, why can’t I wipe my car off to remove the ash? The answer is, it’s abrasive, don’t do it! Every car wash expert will tell you that you shouldn’t wipe the ash off because it will leave scratches in your paint or clear coat. The best way to prevent scratches is to have your car cleaned at a professional car wash such as Speedy Sparkle!
Speedy Tip – According to a recent study performed by the University of Texas, which was corroborated by the University of Munich, “a single home hand-wash can leave scratches in your finish as deep as 1/10 of the total thickness of the paint. Also, the average garden hose cannot supply enough water and water pressure with the detergent action to avoid damaging a vehicle’s finish.”
The Chemistry Of Forest Fire Ash
If you were to break down and analyze the ash from forest fires, you’d find that it contains, among other things, the minerals magnesium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. These minerals are essential for life, but they are not healthy for your vehicle’s paint. When ash mixes with water, paint damaging chemical reactions occur. The real concern is when your car gets wet. Chemical etching can happen, and it doesn’t have to rain either. Sprinkler systems, morning dew, and even fog can create conditions ripe for chemical etching. If left untreated, etching can occur and cause significant damage to paint, clear coat, or both.
Speedy Tip – The #1 way to prevent Ash damage is to Get Your Ash To The Car Wash! Yes, we have jokes…. Seriously though, we are offering you a free month of car washes. Fill out the form above and we will send your coupon code to your phone or simply show us the coupon code at the top of this page.
Chemical Reaction From Water and Ash
The most damaging chemical reaction results in potassium hydroxide lyes. Potassium hydroxide acts similar to drain cleaner and is very corrosive. Potassium hydroxide is one of the chemicals in Caustic strippers. They work because the lye reacts with the oily component of the paint, loosening it from the surface.
Calcium and magnesium carbonates are also a big concern. Carbonates form when these minerals are mixed with water and become corrosive. If left alone, the corrosive residue will eventually create tiny craters in your car’s paint and clear coat finishes. Furthermore, calcium is the cause of hard water, which results in water spots. A professional car wash ensures a thorough washing of your car, ensuring it is free of damaging chemical reactions and abrasives.
Speedy Tip – For maximum protection, we recommend our top wash, our Speedy Total Protection, or our Ultimate wash. These two packages include our Platinum + Polymer Surface Surface protectant, which will help protect your car’s paint from the fallout. It will make new ash deposits (as well as bugs, bird doo, and other bad stuff) easier to remove on your next wash.
When Will The Forest Fire Ash Fallout End?
Unless the weather changes, ash will continue to fall until firefighters get the upper hand, ash and soot will be in the air for some time. That is why we are offering you a free month of car washes. We are doing this to help you keep your car clean. The offer expires soon, so get in now through the end of the month. Click here to take advantage or learn more about this exclusive forest fire offer.
Best Practices For Caring For Your Vehicle‘s Paint and Finish.
Garage It To Avoid Forest Fire Ash Damage
So what is the simplest way to protect your car? It’s simple, leave it in your garage, of course. Your garage is undoubtedly the best place to keep your vehicle. It is also the best way to protect and prolong your car’s finish, as well as the condition of the interior and trim.
Car Covers Will Protect Against Forest Fire Ash
Car covers are great, but make sure there is no ash or soot on the car when you put it on to avoid scratches caused by the car cover from rubbing on ash-covered areas. Your best advice is to make sure you come into Speedy Sparkle Car Wash to get your vehicle clean and ash-free and then install the car cover.
Speedy Tip – Carefully use a duster to swoosh away ash without scratching the surface from abrasive soot and ash.
Wax It For Future Protection From Ash Fall
We recommend that you wax your vehicle’s painted surfaces to add another layer of protection. Our Ruby $55 and Diamond $70 washes are a spectacular deal and include hand-applied wax.
If you decide to apply wax yourself, use a quality car wax and follow the directions thoroughly. If you don’t want to do the work yourself, we have a full-service detail shop at our Loveland location.
Wash The Ash Off Yourself
Before you wash your car at home, according to the University of Texas, hand washing is already harmful to your vehicle’s finish, let alone with ash involved. According to University researchers, “Tests conducted by the University of Texas to compare surface disturbances showed that a single home hand-wash of an automobile could produce scratches that penetrate as deep as 1/10 of the total thickness of the automobile’s paint.” Instead of washing your car, we are offering you a free month of car washes. Click here to take advantage or learn more about this exclusive forest fire offer.
If, after reading this, you still plan to wash your vehicle at home, here are some steps you can take to protect your finish.
- Make sure you thoroughly rinse off your vehicle, removing ash, soot, and dirt particles.
- Use warm water and a soft car washing pad, sponge, or even a soft towel.
- Use car wash soap, starting at the top of the car, working your way down.
- As you are wiping, you should be continually rinsing the painted surfaces with as much water as possible to wash away debris quickly.
- Dry the car after you finish washing it to prevent ash from re-adhering.
Pro-Tip – If your vehicle gets wet from morning dew, fog, or a sprinkler system, chemical reactions have already started. Act now to prevent damage! Get Your Free Wash! Fill out the form at the top of this page!
Fill Up Your Wiper Fluid and Change Your Wipers
If you haven’t thought about this, now is an excellent time to consider having your local service garage swap out your wipers and fill your window cleaning fluid reservoir. You may still want to spray the windshield first to avoid accidentally scratching it from more massive debris.
Protect Your Vehicles Interior from Forest Fire Ash!
We hope your AC is working because you need to keep your windows rolled up. That goes for the moonroof, keep it closed to avoid damage to your interior.
When there is ash in the air, it is especially important to run your car’s air conditioner in recirculate mode until there is no ash in the air. If your interior smells of smoke and the smell bothers you, you may need to use an air freshener for the short term.
Keep your car vacuumed to prevent a build-up of ash on the floor mats and cloth surfaces. You might want to wear a mask to avoid exposure to ash particulates if necessary.
Get A Protective Coating Applied
We offer our Platinum + Polymer Surface Surface protectant applied at the car wash. That’s right! Speedy Sparkle Car Wash now offers a protective coating to any Exterior or full-service wash. This finish adds an extra layer of protection between your car’s finish and forest fire ash. It creates a hard, durable, slick surface, making ash removal much more manageable, decreasing the risk of damage and scratches.
When It’s All Over Assess Your Car For Damage
When the fires are behind us, you should visit your local service garage to replace your air filter and the ventilation filters in your passenger compartment.