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I Let The Rain Wash My Car

"I don't need to go to a car wash, it will rain soon."
Ooh, bad idea. You have heard of acid rain, right?

"Clean" rain has an acidic pH of 5.6

We all know that there is carbon dioxide in the air. When you add carbon dioxide to water, it naturally forms carbonic acid. According to the USGS1, "clean" rain has an acidic pH of 5.6, and in most cities it is much much worse than that.

When rainwater evaporates off your car, much of the acid remains behind. It doesn't just sit there on your car doing nothing, it eats away the wax and clear coat finish, and will eventually eat its way through the paint and even the metal!

Acid will destroy your car!

What can you do about it?

The simplest way to minimize the effect of acid rain on you car is to wash it at the Kutztown Car Wash after a rainstorm. Washing your car removes the acid residues from the finish, thus preventing acid rain from ruining your car.

Fascinating Facts about pH:

  • We all know that water is H2O - 2 Hydrogen (H) atoms + 1 Oxygen (O) atom. If you mix some other chemical into water, and that chemical has lots of extra H atoms, then the water ends up with extra Hydrogen - that is an acid. On the other hand, if you mix in a chemical that has lots of extra OH (hydroxide; 1 Oxygen + 1 Hydrogen), then the water ends up as a "base".
    "pH" then is simply a measure of how many 'free-floating' H ions there are in a liquid. You can read a more detailed explanation at many web sites, including Chem4Kids.
  • The Miami Museum of Science gives a list of the pH of some common substances.

Learn more about acid rain at these websites:

US EPA - Environmental Protection Agency
Wikipedia - acid rain
1"USGS Acid Rain and our nations capitol"

Thanks for reading, I hope this article was useful to you!

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