How To Clean Volcano Ash Off Your Car: Today In Natural Disasters

May 28, 2011
Iceland's Fimmvorduhals erupts. Image: Henrik Thorburn

Iceland's Fimmvorduhals erupts. Image: Henrik Thorburn

Whether or not you believe in global warming, one thing is clear: worldwide, we’ve been getting some pretty severe weather and natural disasters as of late.

While we don’t have too many active volcanoes to worry about in the United States, it’s never too early to plan for your car care needs should one pop up in an adjacent town. If you live in Europe, where eruptions of Icelandic volcanoes seem to disrupt air traffic on a regular basis, you’re probably well versed on how to deal with abrasive, acidic volcanic ash.

In case you’re not, the following car care tips come from car-care product manufacturer Autoglym, who saw a significant increase in customer service calls after last year’s volcanic eruption.

If your car is covered with volcanic ash, here’s what the car care experts recommend: 

  • Soak the paint with water to loosen surface deposits
  • Use a pH-neutral car wash solution
  • Lift and carefully clean wiper blades, as volcanic ash can scratch windshields.
  • Carefully clean window seals to avoid scratching glass when lowering windows
  • Use a rubber treatment to clean and maintain rubber seals, wiper blades and tires
  • Wash your car frequently until after the volcanic dust settles

We’d add “park inside if possible” to the list, but be careful using a car cover if inside parking isn’t an option. Even a small amount of abrasive volcanic ash, trapped between a car cover and your paint, is enough to cause significant scratching.

If there’s a bright side, volcanic ash doesn’t dent cars quite the way that baseball-sized hail does. 


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