The damaging impact of pollen on your cars.

Spring is in the air, and if you walk outside this time of year, chances are you’re noticing a pale green or yellow film covering nearly every surface that is left untouched.  If you haven’t seen it, take an allergy pill, blow your nose, and clear the haze from your eyes caused by seasonal allergies and take another look.  Certainly, the pollen coating the surrounding area is a pain to deal with can be hazardous to your health and will stain nearly everything with which it comes in contact.  However, very few people think about what the fine coating could be doing to their cars.

While the pollen is certainly an annoyance, we don’t think about the impact it may be having on the paint job of our cars.  While our first instinct is to ignore the mess or simply to wipe it away from the windows, we may just be doing further damage.  Unfortunately, tree sap and pollen, which inevitably falls in most regions during the spring, can be inherently dangerous to our paint jobs.  The pollen and sap can’t chip away at an otherwise healthy vehicle and cause rust spots and weakened paint that becomes very expensive to fix.  So, what can you do to prevent it and how exactly is it damaging?

Pollen isn’t simply the fine dust that seems to be coating everything around you.  Pollen molecules have spikes and prongs that cling to everything it’s meant to attach itself to, like bees.  Unfortunately, it also can grip the paint on your car.  When you go to swipe at the pollen covering your car, those spikes dig into the car’s paint and leave scratches, ruining your otherwise perfect paint job.  Resist the urge to take a cloth to your car and simply wipe the pollen away.  There are ways to protect your car, and none of them involve a quick wipe.

  • Old Fashioned Wash – When dealing with pollen, the best way to combat it is to give your car the full old-fashioned wash and dry treatment. Using soap and water, gently rub your car in a circular motion with a soft cloth.  This will capture the pollen within the soap and the cloth, thus ensuring smooth removal and an undamaged paint job.  Once your car is clean and free of spring’s burden, dry it with another soft cloth.  By using soap, you’re destroying the pollen and allowing it to be carried from your car, whereas using only water can make the pollen acidic and even more detrimental to your paint’s health.
  • Wax On, Wax Off – Waxing your car is a tedious job, a level of tedium unsurpassed by many other things. However, waxing may be the thing that will keep your car from losing value due to scratched and damaged paint.  By applying a thin layer of wax to your car on a regular basis, you will protect the paint.  It won’t keep pollen from falling onto your car, but it will help to keep it from damaging the paint in the event of a rainstorm.  Be sure to apply the wax at the right time, however, because you don’t want to be gently massaging pollen into your car’s finish.
  • Interior Maintenance – Not only can pollen affect the exterior of your car, but the interior as well. Check your air filters to ensure they’re not filled with this scourge, or it could impact your gas mileage and the air quality inside the car.  If getting into your car and cranking the AC sends you into a full blown allergy attack, chances are that some of it has infiltrated the interior cabin and this should be remedied immediately.  Another good thing to do during the pollen season is to ensure that both your wiper blades and wiper fluid are in the best possible condition.  You don’t want to be blinded on the road because of pollen contamination.

Whether you’re looking to get through the Spring Pollen Season without damaging your pristine paint job, or you’re simply looking to maintain your peace of mind, keeping up a regular washing and waxing schedule is a wise decision to make.  If you’re not an allergy sufferer, you may think that pollen couldn’t possibly hurt, but as referenced above, it is doing unseen damage.  Protect your investment by following a good schedule, keeping things in top shape, and resisting the urge to wipe your car clean or let the rain take care of it.  Your car’s resale value will thank you.

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