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How to Protect Your Car from California Wildfires – The Vault

Living in California, we’re unfortunately very familiar with wildfire season. Among the losses that wildfires causes are an untold number of vehicles. Although the total number of vehicles is unknown, it’s estimated that Northern California wildfires destroyed 4,000 vehicles in 2017. 


While ensuring the safety of you and your loved ones is a top priority, it’s understandable that you want to protect your vehicles too. While it won’t always be possible to save your car or truck during a fast-moving wildfire, there are steps you can take to prevent wildfire-related damages. 


1. Put Your Car Inside the Garage

If you aren’t using your car to evacuate, park it in your garage. Your garage will act as an extra barrier against the elements and can protect your vehicle from flames. Be sure to roll up the windows and close the sunroof, which will help wildfire ash from entering your car


If you don’t have a garage and need to park your car outside, cover it with a fitted cover. This protects the surface, wheels, and tires.


2. Wash and Wax Your Car

If you’ll be parking your car outside, consider washing and waxing your vehicle regularly until the wildfires subside. This is especially true if there is ash in the air that is building up on your car.


Wildfire ash on your car can cause significant damage because ash contains calcium and potassium. When combined with moisture from dew, fog, and the like, this combination can be corrosive. Ash and soot can also leave scratch marks on your car, so you will want to take extreme care when removing it from your vehicle. 


Carefully washing and drying your car daily to keep ash at bay can protect your investment. If there is a small amount of ash on your car, we recommend carefully removing the ash with a car duster. However, if there is a large amount of ash on your car, rinse it off with water and dry it thoroughly.


To go the extra mile, give your car a post-wash wax, which will provide long-term protection.

House with wildfires in the background


3. Wash Your Windshield and Wipers With Care

This goes hand-in-hand with tip No. 2 but deserves its own spot on this list because it’s important to remember. Ash, soot and other wildfire-related debris can build up quickly on your windshield. While it’s natural to want to use your windshield wipes to clean the windshield, this can cause significant scratching. 


Avoid spraying windshield wiper fluid and instead hose-rinse your windshield. Before you use the wipers, check each blade and clean any ash, soot, or debris. 


4. Detail the Interior

Even if your vehicle’s windows and sunroof were closed during a wildfire, it’s still possible for ash and other related debris to wind up inside. Not only is this bad for your car’s interior, but it can negatively affect your health. Once the wildfires have subsided, we recommend doing a thorough detailing of the interior. Vacuum the floor mats and cloth surfaces and wipe down any leather or plastic components. 


5. Have Your Car Professionally Inspected

Once the wildfires have passed, it’s a good idea to have your car professionally inspected to ensure it’s functioning as it should. Even if your car seems unscathed, you might benefit from replacing the air filter and other components. 


You may be wondering, do car air conditioners filter wildfire smoke? According to the California Department of Health, car air conditioners do not protect from wildfire smoke. The tiny particulate hazards of wildfire smoke (known as PM2.5) require a filter with a filtration rating of N95 or greater.


6. Consider Vehicle Storage Services

Storing your vehicle with a professional storage services company can give you added peace of mind knowing there will be no wildfire ash on your car. While California wildfires are unpredictable if you don’t have a garage or reliable place to protect your investment, vehicle storage services are a great option. 


Store Your Car at The Vault

If you’re looking for car storage in San Diego to avoid wildfire ash on your car, The Vault is your solution. We offer car storage and can store your vehicle for fire season or any duration of time. 


Our storage facility offers industry-leading services, including security, in and out services, in-house detailing and maintenance, door-to-door transport, and more. With two convenient locations and a team of storage specialists, your car will be in great hands. Contact us today to see how we can accommodate your vehicle storage needs.