Pollen season is a major bummer for folks like me who like to keep my vehicle clean. While it’s sometimes impossible to keep every trace of that yellow powder off of your car or truck, there are a few things you can do to protect against it. In this blog, I’ll share a few tips you can try at home to minimize the effect pollen has on your vehicle.
Tip #1: Wash and wax before the pollen hits
Pollen season starts usually in early April in the United States, so it’s best to prepare beforehand. While there’s not much you can do after the fact, there are a couple of ways to help minimize its effect. Washing and applying a thin coat of high quality carnauba wax or better yet –a good sealant, I’ve found makes it more difficult for pollen to stick to the surface of my vehicle.
Wax or a good sealant will work, since the main purpose of these types of products is to protect against rain, dirt, debris to a certain extent.
I can actually tell a difference between a waxed car and one that hasn’t been waxed in my office parking lot, especially during the spring when flowers, pollen, and debris are floating around. The BMWs and other exotics I see almost always look nearly unaffected by the pollen, while older cars that haven’t been waxed in several years are coated in a yellow powder.
The bottom line is that it’s probably going to collect on your vehicle regardless, but keeping your vehicle as slick as possible will make removal much easier.
Tip #2: Apply a layer of Rain-X to your windshield and windows
Keeping a good coat of Rain-X on your windshield is a great idea for safety reasons before, during, and after pollen season. Visibility is obviously worse when there is a layer of pollen in your line of sight, and by keeping Rain-X on the windsheld and windows, it can make to difficult for pollen to stick.
Again, the idea is to make your vehicle as slick as possible through waxing, Rain-X, and wheels protectant, so when the pollen begins to land on your vehicle, it can easily slide off instead of accumulate.
Tip #3: Install rain guards
Rain guards (also called rain deflectors) like in the picture above are another line of defense for keeping pollen out of the interior of your car for when spring showers hit. The effects of pollen are worse for me after it has rained, leaving swirls and deposits of pollen behind (especially on the hood).
Especially for spring showers, installing rain guards may not be a bad idea for keeping yellow powder out of the interior. At drive throughs, bank windows, (or any place you need to roll your window down in the rain), these are really nice to have. Pollen usually collect in and around door jambs as well, so keeping these waxed in combination with using rain guards can help.
Weathertech makes these in addition to rubber floor mats that can easily be sprayed down during this time of year. I run weathertech mats in my Silverado, and have been really impressed at the durability. You may want to check Amazon to see if your vehicle’s make and model is available.
Tip #4: Check your cabin air filter
If you are prone to allergies like I am, don’t overlook your cabin air filter. This device plays an important role in keeping the quality of air you breathe in the cabin as clean as possible. Not to be confused with your engine air filter, this is something that I was surprised to learn about that can improve the air quality inside your vehicle and also. According to Tom Potter, owner of Japanese Auto Masters on Angie’s list:
If you tell someone they need their cabin air filter changed, some say, ‘What is that?’ They think you’re talking about the engine air filter. I’ve seen people go 90,000 miles without changing it because they didn’t know they needed to.”
These filters are usually located behind the glove box, and can be difficult to replace yourself. In addition to pollen, they help filter out smog, dust and even mold spores.
Tip #5: Check your engine air filter
It’s also a good idea to check your engine’s air filter when pollen arrives, as an old air filter can block airflow to your engine, causing it to potentially overheat or become damaged.
Air is required to burn fuel, and the air filter acts as a barrier for trapping particles like pollen from being burned for fuel, potentially causing contamination or engine damage. You may also notice your gas mileage worsen over time, since burning fuel becomes more difficult with less air.
Overall, it’s a good idea to at least check your filter and remove any pollen deposits or debris that might have formed, especially during pollen season.
While unavoidable at times if you have to park outside, hopefully you are able to protect your car as best as possible this season from pollen buildup. Using your office’s parking garage (if they have one) can help to a certain extent if you have that option.
My biggest concern is usually visibility when it comes to pollen clinging to my windshield, so buying an exterior windshield cover may also be something to check out. Since pollen season usually last for a few weeks, go ahead and prep your vehicle now before the craziness.
Have any other tips or tricks for keeping pollen off of your vehicle? Leave a comment below.
*This post was updated on February 13th to reflect current auto detailing best practices.