How to keep wildfire ash and soot from destroying your car's paint job

2021-12-25 05:45:24 By : Ms. YZ BAIYA

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The smoke, ash, and soot from the Bay Area wildfires can wreak havoc on the exterior of your car. The dangerous chemicals in ash are calcium and potassium, and though they’re harmless when dry, they can have a corrosive chemical reaction when wet, damaging your car’s expensive finish.

Your last line of defense is a strong stream of water, and some heavy soapy washing, as soon as possible after the ash falls, since letting it sit overnight will allow the ash to become wet from dew, which will cause the damage. A microfiber cloth can be a great help here, and of course, don’t forget to wear a mask when spending any time outdoors.

2 in 1 Chenille Microfiber Car Wash Brush Mop Mitt

It’s also important to finish off by making sure your car is perfectly dry, since lingering water droplets can cause unsightly residue and, of course, react with any falling ash to get a jump-start on the chemical corrosion we’re trying to avoid. Shammies are highly regarded for their ability to get things as dry as you could hope.

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In general, you want to avoid two-in-one car soaps that claim to also include wax for the same reason you avoid shampoo/conditioner hybrids -- it’s better to just get two products and take the extra step.

Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax

And finally, here’s an all-in-one collection for anyone starting from scratch.

Chemical Guys HOL148 16-Piece Arsenal Builder Wash Kit

Washing your car thoroughly every day is a total nightmare, but luckily people without garages have at least one other option: a DIY ceramic coating. That can serve as an additional layer of protective coating for your paint -- it’s what car owners in Hawai’i use to prevent damage from the ash after volcanic eruptions.

10H Ceramic Coating 3.0,High Gloss Hydrophobicty Anti Scratch

Joshua Sargent is the Senior News Editor, Commerce, for Hearst Newspapers. Before this job he wrote video games and comedy, which probably just made you say "ah, yeah, that makes sense."

Josh can play the guitar solo from Steely Dan's "Kid Charlemagne" almost exactly right and lives in Brooklyn, NY with a cat that "belongs" to him according to the "law."

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