Winterizing Your Car After Wildfires

KCBS Radio Morning News
November 26, 2019 - 6:17 am
Clogged cabin air filter

Holly Quan/KCBS Radio

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS Radio) -- The coming rain may bring the end of fire season but it could do a number on your vehicle's paint if you were anywhere near one of this year's wildfires.

You might not even still smell smoke in your truck or car but the debris or particles that settle on the outside, mixed with rain, could cause stains on your paint.

"It actually etches into the surface in the paint on your car kind of like a cavity in your teeth and those stains are trickier to get out," said Quinn Barri, who owns Auto Sport Detailing in Santa Rosa. 

Barri said he recently worked on a Windsor firefighter's dark-colored GMC Yukon, which had been damaged by ash that left stains on the paint as well as plastic surfaces.

Barri's shop is booked through Christmas, cleaning the outside and underside of cars that were engulfed in smoke and ash. 

There's also the interior to consider.

"People don't know there are cabin air filters inside 90% of cars that are designed to filter the air that you're breathing so if that filter is clogged you're just going to continue breathing everything that's getting pushed through that filter," said Barri.

That's something KCBS Radio reporter Holly Quan found out for herself. After numerous trips into wildfire zones over the last 18 months, she had the 2015 Chevrolet Equinox she drives serviced.

To put it mildly, the cabin air filter (shown at top of this story) had greatly exceeded its useful service life.