As damaging wildfires rage throughout Southern California, ashes from the forest fires are settling on every surface – from sidewalks and homes to the roofs, hoods and trunks of unprotected vehicles. According to car-care experts at Meguiar’s, the ash residue will not harm automotive paint finishes as long as it remains dry.
“The elements in wood ash include calcium, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium, which are inert and have no effect on finishes in their dry form,” says Mike Pennington, Global Director of Training at Meguiar’s. “There is, however, a serious risk of chemical etching on automotive paint finishes when these elements are mixed with water. 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.”
As an example, potassium or calcium when mixed with water, has the potential to form potassium hydroxide and calcium carbonate, which can have the same corrosive characteristics as drain cleaner. To combat the potential ash hazard Meguiar’s suggests the following precautions and remedies:
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