If you’ve ever smoked a cigarette you know how nasty the filter gets. Even after just a few puffs, the recently white tip will turn a disgusting orange-brown. The Southern California Wildfires have burned up hundreds, make that thousands, of acres filling the air with ash, smoke and dust.
During the fires, you could actually see the particles floating through the air. As the fires died down, you could still see their presence on your car. I would walk out of my house in the morning to find a thin layer of debris coving my car every morning. It was disgusting; and not only because my car was dirty, but because we were breathing that air.
The news advised the residents of San Diego, who weren’t evacuated, to close their windows, shut off their air conditioning and stay indoors. Basically, people should avoid the poor air quality as much as possible.
After a week or so, the presence of tiny ash particles started to disappear and people slowly started to spend more time outdoors. But the air quality was still really bad. Even though the dirty air wasn’t visible, we are still breathing. Not only is this bad for your lungs, but this air can really take a toll on your car’s air filter. People can deal with having bad health, but when car starts problems start to cost money, they aren’t happy. Thankfully, a few car companies have been very understanding and have provided customers with free services during these tough times.
For example, Goodwrench is currently running a promotion for the month of November where they will replace all air filters for GM cars. Their website states,
“Due to the recent wildfires, ash and other particles in the air could impact your vehicle’s engine air filter. To help, starting November 1, 2007 – November 30, 2007 GM Goodwrench will offer to residents of the eight affected southern California counties an engine air filter replacement free of charge on your GM car or truck.*
The offer is available at participating dealers only and to residents of the following counties: Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Riverside and Imperial.”
Volkswagen has also been very helpful. “We at Volkswagen are sending our thoughts and prayers to those affected by the recent devastating southern California wildfires,” said Steve Mears. “For customers who were severely impacted with damage to or loss of their residence and/or business, Volkswagen will defer their lease payments and extend their loan payments for up to 90 days. Customers will not accrue any additional charge or loan interest for the designated period.”
In addition, they offer free air filters for any Volkswagen car in the San Diego area, all models 1998 and newer.
I know what you’re probably thinking – free air filter – Big Whoop. But hey, it’s better than nothing. What does a dirty air filter mean for you? Decreased gas mileage, worse performance and can lead to early engine failure. So sure, you may not get a free car, but a new air filter can greatly benefit your car. Act quickly because the offer is only until the end of November!