SOURCE: Automobile Club of Southern California

October 15, 2008 15:09 ET

Auto Club Advises Drivers to Remove Fire-Related Ash and Soot From Vehicles

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - October 15, 2008) - With parts of Southern California experiencing heavy smoke, soot and falling ash, motorists should take steps to remove fire-related debris from the exterior paint of their vehicles.

"Since the automobile is the second largest monetary purchase after the home, motorists want to make sure they maintain their vehicle's paint finish to maintain the car's value," said Dave Skaien, of the Auto Club's AAA-Approved Auto Repair Program. "It's especially important to remove ash and soot from vehicles as soon as possible."

It may take more than one wash to remove ash since a large amount will begin falling throughout the Southland and will continue to fall for the next several days. "Motorists may have to repeat washings to keep ash from collecting on the vehicle and scratching and damaging the paint," said Skaien. Motorists should note any water restriction rules in their area before deciding to wash their vehicle, he added.

Other tips for your vehicle in the coming days:

1. Whenever possible, garage the vehicle.  Not only is this the best way to
   keep ash off, it also will protect and prolong the finish on the
   vehicle, the trim and rubber on tires.

2. If you can't park the vehicle in the garage, gently wipe the vehicle off
   with a long-handled car duster to remove the soot and ash. Be sure to
   dust off the headlights and taillights for maximum visibility. If you
   have a car cover, use it.  A car cover also will help keep ash off of
   the vehicle and protect the painted surface.

3. If washing the vehicle at home, wet thoroughly and wash with warm water,
   a soft mitt, towel or sponge, and formulated car wash soap. Start at the
   car roof and work your way down and around the panels.  Rinse vehicle
   thoroughly and dry with a soft clean towel or chamois.

4. After the fires are over, motorists should inspect and replace, as
   necessary, the engine air filter and auto technicians should inspect and
   replace ventilation filters in the passenger compartment.  A dirty air
   filter can restrict fuel economy and increase vehicle emissions.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Marie Montgomery