Here in the Baltimore and DC Metropolitan areas, we are all too familiar with pollen. With spring underway, it’s a safe assumption that many of you have already begun feeling the effects of pollen—allergies being the most common sign.
Another sign that pollen is all around us is that we can see it on our cars. And while our cars don’t suffer allergies, did you know pollen can actually damage your car’s exterior?
How Can Pollen Damage My Car?
If you look at pollen under a microscope, you will see it isn’t a smooth object; it has spores that act as little “hooks”—hooks that can latch onto our hair, our clothes, and—you guessed it—onto our cars.
Pollen can also be highly acidic and that acidity can eat away at the paint on your car.
What Not to Do
It might seem like an easy answer would be to simply wipe the pollen off your car with a non-abrasive cloth. The problem is that while the cloth may not scratch your car, those microscopic hooks can.
Secondly, a water bath won’t fully do the trick either. As we stated earlier, pollen is acidic and when it comes in contact with water, the water can activate the acidic qualities of the pollen. This acidity will begin to ruin the paint job on your car and may eventually even lead to rust in some areas!
How to Protect Your Car
What a headache a little yellow dust can cause! But don’t worry—there are some very manageable and easy things car owners can do to offset the lousy effects of pollen.
1. Use warm, soapy water and give your car a proper wash. Check out these dos and don’ts of home car washes from Consumer Reports.
2. After your car is dry, apply wax. This will add a protective layer making it harder for pollen to “latch” onto your car. We recommend using the following products.
3. Park in a garage. While no area is completely pollen-proof, parking in a business garage or in your home garage means less exposure of your car to pollen in general.
4. Buy a car cover. Maybe you thought car covers were just for those individuals who pamper their cars as much as their own children. While that may be the case for some car enthusiasts, car covers also add a protective guard against the elements of Mother Nature, such as that pesky pollen.
5. Don’t park near/under trees. We know as the temperatures warm, it’s going to be very tempting to park in the shade, and we don’t blame you. That seems like pretty sound logic. However, parking under or near trees is a danger zone for your car if you’re trying to avoid pollen exposure as much as possible in the coming months.
Bonus tips—Protect Yourself!
6. Check your cabin air filter! You can have this replaced during service at your dealership or do it yourself—just check your owner’s manual for details. A clean cabin air filter means less pollen getting on the inside of your car.
7. Keep your windows up whenever possible, even when parked, to lessen pollen infiltration in your car’s interior and fabrics.
8. When using the air conditioner, use the recirculate setting. This will mean less pollen-filled outside air coming inside your vehicle.
Pollen is like the evil twin of fairy dust—it brings us down! It irritates our allergies, leaves our cars coated with that horrible neon yellow sheen, and when left untreated, can wreak havoc on our automobiles. No—there’s no happy thoughts when it comes to pollen! Hopefully we’ve given you some very simple, actionable tips that you can put to use to protect your car from pollen damage. And remember, if you’re not so great at maintaining your car, make sure you schedule service or have your car professionally detailed.