Safely Dealing with Sahara Dust on Your Vehicle

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Why is my car covered in dust in 2023? Unpredictable weather patterns have led to an influx of abrasive red dust and sand from the Sahara desert settling on vehicles all over the country. While this may be an uncommon occurrence, dealing with Saharan dust UK today demands some special care to avoid unintentional damage to your vehicle’s paintwork.

Understanding the Origins of Sahara Dust

Paul Coley, the Technical Director at Autoglym, imparts valuable insights on the matter. He highlights that discovering your once-pristine car covered in a fine layer of red dust is a common occurrence. This dust is carried by clouds from desert regions and descends during light rain showers. Although the dust itself won’t damage your car upon settling, hastily removing it can potentially result in lasting harm to your paintwork, especially if your car has a matte or satin finish that cannot be polished. To assist you in addressing this challenge, we’ve compiled five top tips on safely removing the dust and sand while preserving your paintwork’s vibrancy and reducing the risk of scratches.

Avoid Finger Artistry

The first tip is straightforward but crucial: refrain from using your finger or a cloth to wipe away the dust. The sand particles and other debris can be abrasive, potentially causing fine scratches that would require later polishing.

Snow Foam Savior

The safest way to cleanse your car is by removing as much dirt as possible before physically touching the panels with a wash mitt. If you have access to a pressure washer, generously coat the dust-covered vehicle with Polar Blast, allowing it to sit for several minutes.

Water, Water Everywhere

Rinse off the Polar Blast with a generous amount of water. This step ensures that most of the dust is removed before you proceed with the contact wash, reducing the chances of dust causing harm to your paintwork during subsequent steps.

High-Quality Shampoo

Use a high-quality shampoo from Autoglym. The cleaning agents in Autoglym’s shampoos break the bond between the remaining dust and the paintwork. This keeps the dust suspended and makes it easy to rinse away with water at the end of the wash. For this step, always employ a large-capacity bucket, a grit guard, and a high-quality wash mitt (available from Autoglym if needed) to ensure that the dust is safely carried away and remains trapped at the bottom of the bucket. If you enjoyed the Polar Blast step, we recommend using Polar Wash for this phase.

Inspect and Address

After the wash, inspect your car for any paintwork damage. If you discover marks or light scratches, they may have existed before you began washing the car. Ensure that the paintwork is clean and dry, then apply Super Resin Polish using overlapping circular motions, adjusting the pressure as needed. For deeper scratches, Autoglym offers the Scratch Remover Kit or UHD Polishing Compound. Note that this step should not be followed if you have a satin or matte finish, as these surfaces cannot be polished.

Bonus Step – Go the Extra Mile

For added protection and easier future cleaning, consider applying a protective layer. While this won’t prevent your car from getting dirty in the event of more dusty rain, it will certainly simplify the cleaning process. Rapid Ceramic Spray is a quick and easy option, offering three months of protection. If you prefer to stick with the Polar range, Polar Seal is the product to use in this scenario.

Why is Sahara Dust Such a Challenge for Cars?

The intrusion of Sahara dust onto your vehicle’s surface is not just an aesthetic issue. The particles carried from the desert are often coarse and abrasive. If not handled properly, they can wreak havoc on your car’s paintwork. Their rough nature makes them act like tiny sandpaper particles, leading to fine scratches and swirl marks on your vehicle’s exterior.

Additionally, the composition of Sahara dust may include various minerals and contaminants that, when left to linger, can corrode and etch into the paint. These corrosive elements can accelerate the degradation of your car’s finish, potentially leading to more significant and costly repair work down the road.

The Importance of a Systematic Approach

To effectively deal with Sahara dust on your vehicle, adopting a systematic approach is key. Rushing into the cleaning process without proper preparation and care can exacerbate the issue rather than solve it. By following the steps provided by Autoglym’s experts, you ensure that your car remains in pristine condition.

Why Autoglym’s Products Matter

Autoglym’s products are specially formulated to address the unique challenges presented by Sahara dust. The use of high-quality shampoo, like Polar Wash, is essential in breaking down the bond between dust particles and your car’s paintwork. This suspension of dust ensures that it is rinsed away cleanly and safely, minimizing the risk of any lingering particles causing damage.

Super Resin Polish, another Autoglym product, comes into play when addressing minor imperfections or scratches in the paintwork. Its application in overlapping circular motions helps restore the shine and vibrancy of your car’s finish. However, remember that this step is not suitable for vehicles with satin or matte finishes.

A Safer Future with Protective Coating

As a bonus step, applying a protective coating like Rapid Ceramic Spray or Polar Seal can make future cleaning efforts easier and more effective. These coatings create a barrier between your car’s paint and potential contaminants, making it harder for dust and dirt to adhere to the surface. This added layer of protection not only enhances your car’s appearance but also simplifies maintenance.

Tackling Sahara dust on your vehicle requires a gentle and systematic approach to maintain your car’s pristine appearance. By following these steps and using Autoglym’s specialized products, you can ensure that your car remains scratch-free and its paintwork retains its vibrant shine.

In conclusion, safeguarding your vehicle’s paintwork from abrasive Sahara dust is not just about washing; it’s about following a precise and careful process. Whether you’re dealing with a glossy or matte finish, the key is to avoid hasty actions that may lead to unwanted scratches. Embrace the tips provided by Autoglym’s Technical Director, Paul Coley, and enjoy a car that gleams even under the challenges of uncommon weather patterns. Your vehicle will not only look better but also maintain its value in the long run, saving you from costly repairs.


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