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Volcanic ash - how to protect your car from damage

By: Drivers staff

Date: Saturday, 22. May 2010

The recent eruption of Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland has highlighted the need for drivers to protect their cars from the potentially serious damage caused by volcanic ash deposits. If you are living or driving in the fall-zone of the volcanic ash from the recent eruption you will need to read this immediately, if not, it may be a good one to bookmark for later!

Volcanic ash can potentially cause a jet engine to fail so imagine what it could do to your car? If you see what you think may be volcanic ash on your car, take a moment to read this before doing anything. If you wash your car as normal you may do untold damage to the paintwork as the rock and silica particles that comprise this dust are extremely abrasive, and washing your car as normal with a cloth or sponge will be like rubbing it down with sandpaper. Not a nice thought!

However, if you are one of those people delighting at the thought of a water-shortage-style excuse not to wash your car then you are out of luck! Leaving the dust on your car is not an option. The sulphuric acid present in volcanic ash means it is more corrosive than normal dust and therefore needs to be removed before it causes more severe damage than the mere micro-scratching caused by rubbing.

The key is to clean your car carefully and effectively. To do this you need to do the following:

If you see residual dust on your car and are not sure if it is volcanic ash then wash your car according to the instructions above. At worst, you will have a sparklingly clean car at the end of it!

Many areas will be exposed to these volcanic ash deposits once they experience rainfall. You can take measures to protect your car in advance by adding an extra barrier against this dust in the form of a good car wax.

If you have any other tips for drivers or experience relating to volcanic ash deposits, be sure to post them below as we would love to hear them!

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All Comments (4)

Showing 1 - 4 comments


Electrostatic charge the whole vehicle? Yeah, and short the entire electrical system of the car Genius.

Amit Khatri,

This is brilliant and especially helpful to those who work in Industrial Zones in India where such pollution takes place very regularly.


This is a really interesting idea - anyone know if it would work?


Untried idea could the right electrostatic charge repell and stop this dust away from car body after all this is how industrial ink jet printers deflect ink drops after exiting nozzol in print head-I built enough of them till 2002 to know that thats how they work so why not repell even finer dust particals

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