Protecting your car from ash build-up

What to look for while ash is in the air

Protecting your car from ash buildup

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Sunday night, the cars parked behind our station looked like this - covered in ash that built up around the windows.

Now the ash is gone but it didn't actually go too far. 

Tons of ash from driving around Santa Maria has built up in one of our vehcile's cabin filter, something the folks at Rizzoli's say is supposed to be replaced every 12,000-15,000 miles.

"[The cabin filter] is supposed to stop all the debris and pollens that go into the cab. When it's blocked like this, it's not really going to stop everything," explained Service Consultant Randy Tate. 

Rizzoli's recommends replacing the cabin filter if your car has one and the car's engine filter.

"A car has to breathe [and] when it's dirty, it doesn't allow air to come through the filter. The car's not gonna be able to breathe properly and you can lose performance and fuel mileage," Tate said. 

As far as the outside of the car, people have been flocking to car washes like Splash N'Dash in Orcutt to wash off the ash - so much so the owner says sales are up 20 percent more than usual.

If ash stays on a car for a long period of time it can cause problems with a vehicle's finish.

Car owner Kirsten Garberg says trying to fight off the ash on her new Honda has been an uphill battle, telling us: "I was kind of upset because now I have to get another car wash and we're in a drought.. we don't need to be washing our cars more. I would hold off [on washing your car]. You're gonna wash it and it's just gonna get dirty again so there's really no point."

Now the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department does recommend waiting till the fire is over to wash your car to prevent putting more ash in the air but if you absolutely have to wash it, take it to a car wash instead of washing it at home. 

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