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2017 Forester CVT
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Discussion Starter #1
Nine days ago the air filter on our 2017 was a only a bit dirty so I cleaned and vacuumed it. Then came the fires and unfathomable amounts of dense and acrid smoke and ash. I have driven maybe a hundred miles in eight days. Got 10,099 miles on that filter and it was filthy. Of course I put a new one in just now. I wonder how this smoke is affecting vehicles, what problems will it cause? Ugh. I think a throttle body and MAF sensor cleaning is in order and I shall purchase more filters.
 

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Personally, I wouldn't worry about it. The filter is going to filter. Just replace them more often if needed. .....but I would also be checking the cabin air filter as these particulates are more of a detriment to your personal health than that of your vehicle. Regular washes wouldn't hurt either if feasible. ......your car, not you. ;)
 

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2017 Forester CVT
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Discussion Starter #3
Personally, I wouldn't worry about it. The filter is going to filter. Just replace them more often if needed. .....but I would also be checking the cabin air filter as these particulates are more of a detriment to your personal health than that of your vehicle. Regular washes wouldn't hurt either if feasible. ......your car, not you. ;)
Yes I will check the cabin filter as well. I just rinsed the car. It was filthy of course. Ash and soot are acidic. Blech. When I have to go outside I wear two masks. I yearn for the day when I can see the sun and take a breath of fresh air. Thank you for your reply.
 

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Yes I will check the cabin filter as well. I just rinsed the car. It was filthy of course. Ash and soot are acidic. Blech
True, which is why I mentioned washing but you need to be aware that the introduction of water is what can cause problems which is why I mentioned washing and of course drying.

If the car is dry all the time like in a scenario where its garaged, leaving the ash on surfaces shouldn't cause any problems. It's when there is moisture in the air from morning dew, drizzles, etc. (like in situations when a car is parked outside) which can wet the ash / particles and then cause a reaction resulting in potential damage.

The washing helps neutralize and remove the contaminants. Simply hosing the car off could make matters worse as all of the debris is not likely to be removed and it leaves the car wet to mix with additional fallout.

Here's a clip from an article that gets a little more technical about it:

The elements in wood ash include calcium, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium, which are inert and have no effect on finishes in their dry form,” says Mike Pennington, Global Director of Training at Meguiar’s. “There is, however, a serious risk of chemical etching on automotive paint finishes when these elements are mixed with water. Leaving an ash-covered car outside on wet nights or foggy mornings may very well result in chemical etching and, in some cases, serious damage to a vehicle’s painted surfaces.”

As an example, potassium or calcium when mixed with water, has the potential to form potassium hydroxide and calcium carbonate, which can have the same corrosive characteristics as drain cleaner. To combat the potential ash hazard Meguiar’s suggests the following precautions and remedies:


  • Keep all vehicles in a secure garage when not in use and be sure vehicle windows and sunroofs are closed to minimize any residual exposure to the ash.
  • If a garage is not available, the next best option is a fitted car cover to protect vehicle surfaces and keep excessive ash residue off of painted surfaces, wheels, and tires as much as possible.
  • If a vehicle must be left outside in an exposed area during the fires, owners can minimize or eliminate the threat of paint damage by carefully washing and then thoroughly drying their vehicles each day until the ash threat subsides. This daily washing is made quick and easy with Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax Anywhere.
  • Once the fires subside, owners should give each vehicle a comprehensive cleaning, first washing away any remaining ash residue with a product specifically designed for autos."
 

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Sahuarita, Arizona USA 2018 Forester Limited
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For those experiencing wildfire "snow" - after washing your car it might be a good idea to wax the horizontal surfaces (hood and roof) to minimize clear coat/paint damage from more ash.
 

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1999 "L" - 231,000 mi. AT
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I wonder how this smoke is affecting vehicles, what problems will it cause? Ugh.
I suspect there is likely no mechanical damage to vehicle driven those few miles - BUT you know the smoke density, and could put your mind at ease by replacing all the filters and changing engine oil once the smoke is done for the year ...
 
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