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Car maintenance tips after ash fall

Ash that sticks and solidifies in the condenser and the radiator through time will affect the performance of your car’s air conditioning system and also the engine cooling system.

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Many were caught off guard with the sudden and unexpected eruption of Taal Volcano last 12 January 2020. It was reported that damage to agricultural crops due to ash fall amounted to more than P500 million, notwithstanding, the still unreported damage to lives and properties that will most certainly surpass the estimated damage to agricultural crops.

I am very sure that a vast majority of our motorists residing in Southern and Central Luzon have been a recipient of volcanic ash — courtesy of Taal Volcano. Ash being spewed by Taal Volcano should not be taken for granted. The ash that is visible to the human eye may just look like ordinary dust but in fact, it is composed of highly abrasive glass dust that can cause serious damage to our cars and also our health if it reaches our respiratory system. Let us take this ash seriously by wearing the prescribed protective mask when we go outdoors. As for our cars, I would like to give my two cents worth on how to minimize the damage of volcanic ash on our prized possessions.

Ash on the car’s exterior
Please remember that this volcanic ash is highly abrasive. Use running water to loosen the ash from the car’s body. Continue to apply running water until the ash falls off from the car’s body. Once there is visible sign that the ash has fallen off, manually inspect the paint of your car by feeling if there is still ash embedded to it. If you still feel something abrasive, repeat the above process until you are sure that your car is free of volcanic ash. Finish the job by wiping the whole car body with a damp cloth and if you have still the time and the energy, apply car wax to the whole body of the car.

Ash on the air condition
system and radiator
The condenser of the car’s air conditioning system and the radiator are the most exposed parts of the car when travelling during an ash fall. Ash that sticks and solidifies in the condenser and the radiator through time will affect the performance of your car’s air conditioning system and also the engine cooling system. You can easily remove the ash by applying high pressure air on these components and finishing up with running water. You need to do this as soon as possible before the ash turn as hard as cement.

Check and clean braking system
You need to visit your favorite service center to inspect and clean your braking system, especially when your car travelled during the ash fall. Remember that volcanic ash is very abrasive and once lodged into your brake pads and shoes, it can severely damage your brake rotors and drums, especially if it solidifies.

While you are already in the service center, clean or replace your air filter. A dirty air filter will damage your car’s engine. Check also the condition of your wiper blades. Clean and replace if necessary.

Lastly, be sure that the water container of your windshield washer is always full and your windshield washer is working.

As you can see, it does not take too much effort to put back your car into shape after an ash fall. A well-maintained car provides safety, reliability and comfort that responsible motorists deserve. I truly believe in the saying: “You always deserve what you care for.”

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