Most Americans grew up hearing some variation of today’s slogan “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires.” The popular public service advice from U.S. Forest Service spokesbear, Smokey the Bear, started back in 1944. It’s still relevant today as California moves into peak wildfire season.
The fires are fueled by drought conditions that have left vegetation dry and brittle and primed. A single spark can ignite a massive fire that can cause significant damage and property loss. Residents’ homes and vehicles often fall victim to the raging wildfires.
As drivers, we can do our part to prevent fires by:
- Properly maintaining our vehicles
- Ensuring that our tires are properly inflated to avoid driving on wheel rims
- Checking to ensure that break pads don’t wear thin
- Avoiding having anything like a broken muffler or towing chain dragging
- Pulling over only on hard surface, not grass
- Disposing of smoking materials appropriately rather than tossing them from vehicle windows
All Californians should know that when a wildfire breaks out, even at some distance away from your location, your vehicle is in danger. Any vehicle parked outdoors may wind up with a light ashy residue resting on its paint job. You may think that’s no big deal, but you should know that innocuous ash can cause you big problems. The next time your car gets wet, even by the evening’s dew, that ash turns highly corrosive and that can ruin your vehicle’s finish.
You should thoroughly wash your vehicle with a pH-balanced car wash solution – not just give it a quick rinse with the hose – and dry it completely. It’s also a good idea to work from the top down to prevent debris from recoating previously clean surfaces. Taking these steps should help prevent the ash from etching into your paint.
During fire season, you should park in garages as much as possible or use a car cover to prevent ash from reaching your paint. If neither is an option, continue to thoroughly wash your vehicle until the fire is contained. Once the threat has passed, you should take your car and get it professionally detailed and have a new coat of wax applied.
Should you find that your paint has been damaged from the ash, come and see us. We’ll assess the situation and let you know the best approach to fix the damage.
Stay safe out there!
Bay Ram Collision Center
20531 Mission Blvd.
Hayward, CA 94541
Hours: 8 am-5 pm M-F; 9 am-1 pm Sat.