This week on Car Talk, we heard from Bill in Soldatna, Alaska. Bill, it turns out, lives right down the street from... from... well, a volcano. That's right: lava, ash, seismic-level explosions and magna. The whole nine yards.

Not only that, the volcano in Bill's 'hood is expected to erupt soon. Really soon.

His question for Tom and Ray? How can he protect his '03 Subaru Outback from the fine ash that's expected to shower Soldatna? He's been told to duct tape panty hose over the air intake, to keep the ash from clogging the Subaru's air filters.

Tom and Ray thought that should work. (Not only that, they suggested taupe.)

What do you suggest, to keep the insides of Bill's engine ash-free? Know of anyone who's dealt with such an automotive-volcanic challenge?

Share your thoughts right here -- and, as always, thanks.

Someone I went to school with (Eric) was living in Montana with his Chevy Luv truck (remember those?) when Mount Saint Helen’s in Washington blew. Everything was covered in ash, but once he replaced the air filter the truck seemed to be fine. I don’t know about the paint finish, but it was several years old so the paint probably wasn’t in good shape anyway. Now, Eric was hundreds of miles from the volcano, but this was Mount Saint Helen’s and the effects of the ash were very widespread.

I was in Anchorage the last time Redoubt blew, and we changed air filters and oil/filter, and rinsed off the cars (NO rubbing). Some folks acted like the ash somehow could get through the air filter, but it doesn’t, it just clogs it. This should be enough. The ash was good fertilizer for the yard, at least!

What do you suggest, to keep the insides of Bill’s engine ash-free?

Stock up on food and supplies ahead of time and don’t drive until it is over.

I seem to racall reading that the troops used this panty hose trick to prevent their engines from getting clogged up from silt during the forst Gulf War. They now have redesigned filtering systems.

Bill may want to check into the availability of high efficiency particle filters and systems for vehicles. Perhaps off-road sources or industrial suppliers for severe operating environments would be good places to start.

Change the air filter element every day. Take the old one and clean it with compressed air or a shopvac and use it the next day (or sooner if necessary).

I heard the program and have been waiting for more volcano news. Since it has now erupted, i hope you guys will follow through on Bill’s story. I can’t imagine living somewhere that has something like this happening. [it’s like it is snowing, but it will never melt.] thanks.

The Engine Will Take Care Of Its Self. Bill Should Put The Panty Hose Over His Head And Haul That Bad Subaru To One Of the 48 Contiguous States.

I agree. I hope to hear from Bill again soon on Car Talk.

I wonder what Bill was able to do, since Mt Redoubt has erupted 6 times in the last 2 days? I hope that he and his neighbors are and continue to be safe.

Please, Bill in Alaska, tell us how you dealt with the ash. I think you may have used a lot of pantyhose or a lot of air filters by this time. That volcano keeps on coming.