Taal volcano’s eruption has brought about ashfall – a hazardous material to both humans and vehicles. Volcanic ash consists of small particles of rock and glass that can not only physically damage your paint but chemically as well. These can contain sulfur and other chemicals that can slowly eat away the layers of paint on your car. It can also damage the glass elements of your vehicle as well.
Clean your car immediately, but gently.
If your car is covered in ashes you need to immediately clean them off. However, do not use a dry cloth or a sponge to remove the material from your car. Dealing with volcanic ash while dry could damage your paint. You can use either a regular garden hose or a pressure washer to clean off the ash.
When using a garden hose, make sure to let it flow freely. You will be utilizing the volume of water to push and lift the dirt off your vehicle. The same can be said for a pressure washer. It can be used but at the lowest setting. The objective is not to quickly push off the dirt but to gently remove it. Make sure to check your vehicle’s drain holes, as well as these, could be clogged. You can use high water pressure in these areas in order to clear them of debris. This will prevent water from building up inside your vehicle and rusting it out.
Use shampoo to clean your car.
When cleaning off your vehicle, it is best to use car shampoo as it can neutralize the acid from the small particles of ash. After watering off the ash, spray the car shampoo on with a foam gun. If a foam gun is unavailable you can opt just to apply the shampoo gently and liberally.
Use the two bucket method.
After the preliminary rinse is done, make sure to wash your vehicle using the two bucket method so that you can isolate the dirt you have just collected with each rinse. This also ensures that the cloth or mitt you use for cleaning will remain the dirt and debris free. Having dirt on the washcloth may scratch your paint, so it is important to rinse frequently.
Air or towel dry your vehicle gently.
After you have removed all the dirt, you can now air dry or towel dry your car with a thick microfiber cloth. The microfiber lets you pick up smaller particles you might have missed. Once the vehicle is dry you can now add wax. The wax will act as your first line of defense in case you need to use your vehicle again, so make sure to apply it liberally and gently according to the condition of the surface.
Cover your vehicle when not in use.
When not in use, a car cover is a must. This creates a physical barrier between your vehicle’s paint and the ash. When a car cover or covered parking is not available use a spare cloth or whatever material is available to protect your vehicle’s glass elements. These could easily get scratched if you run your wipers without water. Make sure to have your wipers in the upright position when storing your vehicle. This reduces the risk of your wipers being damaged by the ash and can serve as a reminder to clean off the dirt and debris before setting off.
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