Wildfire Ash Could Ruin Your Car's Paint Job: Here's What You Should Do

NBC 7 Responds looked at what you should do to avoid lasting damage to your car's paint or interior.

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Even if you live miles away from wildfires, you can still see their impact right outside your door. Ash from those fires can land on cars, and could eventually damage their exterior.

"Ash on the car does not harm your car in the dry state," said Greg Boes of the National City and Crystal City Car Washes. "But on a dewy night, or when it's foggy outside, you wake up in the morning and your car is wet. Then it could have potential hazards."

Boes runs three car washes in the South Bay. He says people are coming in and asking what they should do about their car's paint.

"They want to know if it's bad for their paint and the best thing to do about it," said Boes. "We anticipate a very busy weekend."

Boes says you don't want to try and wipe the ash off as it could scratch the paint on your car. If you aren't getting your car washed, he recommends at least hosing it off.

"It's just like any dirt that's on your car, it's gritty," said Boes. "Hosing it off, a good strong water stream to hose it off would definitely help."

Just make sure you've washed it all off. Leaving ash on your car overnight can cause it to have a chemical reaction as dew or fog turns it wet.

"The chemicals in ash are calcium and potassium," said Boes. "In a wet form they become caustic. It could do some chemical etching on the paint."

"I had ashes on my car and inside," said Malia Seui, who brought her car to Boes' car wash. "It's so much dirtier."

Boes says the ash can also damage the interior of your car, so it's important to keep your windows up and sunroofs closed.

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