Thursday, September 2, 2010

What is fallout? Acid Rain affect the cars

Fallout is anything that falls on your car, contaminates it and can damage the paint or otherwise ruin the appearance.Usually when people talk about fallout, they mean industrial fallout, specifically rail dust. Rail dust is particles of metal, most commonly from railway lines (hense the name) but it can come from any industrial process. Contamination with metal particals is a subject which deserves it’s own entry which can be found here.

Other forms of industrial fallout can include just about anything that industry pumps out into the air including pollution and acid rain. Over the years I have seen lime scale contaminated water splashed on cars, cement dust, red oxide paint, Hammerite, creosote, ash, soot, etc, etc.

Fallout really could include just about anything. Several of the cars we have treated for fallout managed to get it by driving down the motorway where earlier a lorry had spilt it’s load… so when you think of all the different liquids and powders transported on British roads, the possibilities are endless.There are also natural forms of fallout such as tree sap, berries and buds, or even bird/bat/insect droppings.

Apart from raildust, the two most common forms of fallout are paint overspray, concrete splatter and tree sap.

Paint overspray is very common, if your car goes into a bodyshop for crash repair it is likely to pick up some overspray. The body shop will mask out the immediate area of the repair, but the air becomes thick with paint particles which are semi-dry. These will land on the upper surfaces of your car and stick. If you car has had a fairly serious repair and been in the bodyshop for several days, you can get overspray from every car they have painted during that time and sometimes its quite visible and looks like a layer of dust. Unlike dust it won’t just wash off but there are several methods of removal. The first of these is to polish the car’s paintwork and windows, this is okay if the fallout isn’t too severe but might be very hard work on heavy fallout. The next method is to use a clay bar which is a sticky bar of riverbed clay, or more usually a synthetic clay very similar to Blu-tac, only a lot more sticky. Clay bar, otherwise know as detailing clay, will help you to rub away the fallout which will stick to the bar. The third method is machine polishing or buffing… if the overspray has gone on very wet this is the only way to remove it.

Unlike paint overspray which just makes your car look slightly matt and dull, fallout from trees can be harmful to your paintwork and cause etching or staining. Usually this organic fallout is tree sap, which isn’t too harmful if you get it off fairly quickly but it can be a real problem to remove. Usually we use a TFR which stands for Traffic Film Remover - this is just a soap but it is strong enough to strip traffic film, grease, and even the wax from your car. This usually works really well, especially when you are running the TFR through a hot pressure washer, but there are times where we have needed to use Tar and Glue remover or other solvent based cleaner.

Certain trees will drop berries onto your car which can cause stains, it’s important to wash these off as soon as possible, never more so than if they land on your car having passed through a dicky-bird! In fact bird droppings are one of the most corrosive things to land on your car. Many car enthusiasts cary a packet of baby wipes or a bottle of quick detailer wax and a microfibre cloth in the car to be able to deal with the problem in short order. Some manufacturers are now producing bird lime neutralizers to deal with the problem.

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