Ash From The Northland Wildfires Can Destroy Your Car’s Paint
I hear everyone talking about rain washing the wildfire smoke and dirt from the air, but it could be bad for your car.
NBC San Diego says that ash from wildfires on your car in the dry state doesn't really hurt your car. There could be some minor damage in some cases, but when it mixes with water, it can damage your paint job. A car wash owner told NBC San Diego that the chemicals in ash include calcium and potassium, and when they become wet, they can do some etching in the paint if not washed off as soon as possible.
CEO Barry Meguiar, of Meguiar’s Inc., a car detailing products company, told the Car Connection that the ash is fine until it gets wet or combines with rain. He goes on to say that the potassium in the ash and the water then form potassium hydroxide, which acts as a drain cleaner to your car's paint.
Meguiar goes on to say to the Car Connection that if you leave it on your car it could do some serious damage, almost "eating" the paint on your car and causing damage that you would have to fix at a body shop. It could carve out some holes or divots in the paint.
So how do you clean it properly? Motor Biscuit offers this helpful advice. Wash it. Yes, it sounds easy. They recommend a jetwash or another scrub-free manner. The high-Pressure will take the contaminants from your car. If you use a brush or cloth, you will only help it act like sandpaper to your car. Then, they dry the car immediately.
The key is to get it off right away because if it doesn't eat through your paint it will weaken it and eventually destroy the finish.