Although the haze from across the Straits of Malacca seems to have subsided, there is a good chance that it will be back. Here are five ways to mitigate the damage that the returning haze could cause to your car.
Being at the mercy of the dreaded haze is not just bad for our health; driving through hazy conditions can also be bad for our car. The following tips may be useful in reducing the potential long-term damage to your car due to haze exposure.1 Wash your car more often
Haze contains a concentration of pollutants, which includes particulate matter (PM10) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5), among other things. You will notice that during the haze period, your car gets dusty really fast. Washing your car more often would help to prevent these particles from sticking to and building up on your paintwork or finish.2 Consider protective coatings
If you want your car to shine like it just rolled out of the showroom, you may have to put in extra effort to protect its paintwork. The paintwork on your car takes a regular beating from dust particles and UV rays, which speed up oxidation. These can ruin the paint and shine very quickly if we just let it be.
With the haze, you have to contend with the damaging effects of acid rain, which is formed from the acidic nature of the pollutants in the haze mixed with water, oxygen and other chemicals. As these elements can dull things rather rapidly, do consider applying protective car wax or ceramic coating to your car. The latter also helps make car washing easier and faster.
If you are doing it yourself, be sure to clean and dry your car thoroughly and don your N95 mask. Otherwise, you can also get it done professionally.
3 Change your air con and engine filter
When your vehicle is on the road, the air in the cabin is kept fresh by the air conditioning filter. This filter will get clogged up over time with dust. The haze pollutants just speed up this process. If you feel that your air con blowers are getting weaker, it is time to replace the air con filter.
Do pay attention to your car engine’s air filter as well. This works to prevent excessive dust and dirt from getting into your engine when air is drawn into the combustion chamber. The fine particles may end up inside your engine, where they are combusted together with air and petrol, resulting in an increase in undesirable by-products, accumulation of more grime in your engine oil, and an overworked catalytic convertor. Even a HEPA air filter designed to catch fine particulates (such as PM2.5) can wear out over time. As a precaution, send your car for servicing, and make sure that motor oil and air filter changes are included.
4 Park in sheltered car parks
If available, keep your car protected in a sheltered car park — even better when it is an underground car park. Consider investing in a car cover if you have to park outdoors.
5 Drive smart
If you must drive in hazy conditions, take precautions so you and your car can brave through this situation together.
Avoid using your high beam as the particles in the air can absorb and reflect that light. This reflected light can also be dangerously blinding to oncoming drivers. When visibility is low, make sure your fog lamp is on as the light from such lamps will be visible from a farther distance.
It also helps to drive at a safer speed and to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Driving with a lighter foot also helps to decrease the intake of bad air and petrol combustion. Lastly, set your air ventilator to the ‘close’ position to avoid letting in more pollutants via the engine bay.