Static Electricity problem with my car

mrsinbad

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I was wearing my polar fleece lined nylon jacket the other day and I was fidgeting around before I got out of the car. I had not noticed the air had turned blue around me and my hair was standing on its ends, when I stepped out and grabbed the frame of my window to close the door.... CRACK!!! The sound of that static electric shock was the loudest I have heard in maaaaany years and I felt it all the way up to my neck. Man, did that smart. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mad.gif On other ocassions, I have grabbed the window frame before I get out of the car, but I would get a series of smaller shocks. And still, other times, I try to elbow the door closed. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon23.gif

I have heard that I could ground my car by attaching a piece of metalized mylar to my car frame and when it came to a stop, it would drag on the ground and discharge any static electric charge that had built up. Is this true? Would that work for my problem? Any other suggestions? /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/help.gif
 

Lurker

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Whenever I hear this topic discussed, things like tire rubber chemistry and grounding straps come up. I think the problem is a lot simpler than that. It is usually just static electricity from friction between your clothing and the seat upholstery. Do you have cloth seats? If so, you can spray your seat with "static guard" or possibly even rub it down with a dryer sheet. That should cure the problem. You may have to repeat this every so often.

Of course wearing polyester, esp. polyester fleece, is contributing to the problem. It might help to launder your clothing with fabric softener.

At least these steps will be simple to try out.

Good luck.
 

jtice

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the strip may work, depends how well your seat is grounded to the frame.

better watch out at the gas pump! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ooo.gif
 

PhotonWrangler

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You can make a cheap anti-static spray by mixing water and liquid fabric softener in a spray bottle, 50/50 ratio, and spraying your upholstery with it. Works really well.
 

mrsinbad

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Thanks for the suggestions so far, but if I use the dryer sheets or spray fabric softener, wouldn't I end up with some residue on my seats at some point?
 

cobb

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I use the dryer sheets. I from time to time have used olde rnon frame grounded wheelchairs and end up getting shocked when I touch stuff. What ever you do, GROUND YOURSELF AND DO NOT GET IN AND OUT OF YOUR CAR WHILE PUMPING GAS, Ground yourself before hand, pump gas while standing outside of your car then hang the pump up when done before getting back in the car and toucing the gas top, door, etc.
 

rayearth

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I have a similar problem and use the anti-static spray and it works pretty well, though you have to apply a fair amount of it and let it dry before sitting down. It has a bit of an odd smell, but it goes away in a few days. One other way that would be more permanent would be to use some thread containing stainless steel and use a curved needle to sew it into the seat cushion along the seams and then attach the string to the metal frame. (I got some kevlar-stainless tell thread for that purpose but have not used it yet - was waiting for the spray to wear off, but has lasted about 5 mo.)
 

louie

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I agree with the clothing cause. I minimize the effect by grounding myself as I start to move out of my seat. In my case, I can stick my fingers on my rubber door window frame, or touch the door latching post as I get out of the car. It may look odd, though.
 

mrsinbad

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Reptilezs, there is no residue that builds in my clothes because they get washed, but I can't say the same about my car seat.

Rayearth, the effects of the anti-static spray has lasted 5 months?! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/eek.gif About your suggestion about the SS thread to the car frame, isn't it the same where the wire frame of the seat is screwed into the car frame?

All good suggestions guys, I really appreciate the feedback.
 

rgp4544

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What type of weather conditions?

If this occurs while raining or in fog or other heavy moisture it could possibly be solved by hanging some nasty looking anti static wicks off your car. Anti static wicks are basically wire brushes grounded to the frame with the brush out in the airstream, common item on a lot of airplanes to reduce static electricity. They discharge the electrical buildup into the air while the vehicle is moving.

Richard.
 

flownosaj

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[ QUOTE ]

I agree with the clothing cause.

[/ QUOTE ]

My car has leather seats--little to no shock.
Wife's car has cloth--shocks of varying degrees each time getting out of the car here in CO.

Colorado air is very dry and I wear a TNF polar jacket all winter.
Texas wasn't as bad--cotton t-sirt and higher humidity=infrequent shocks and less intensity.
 

Lurker

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Where I live, we have dry winters and damp summers. This is definitely a problem isolated to the winter months for me.

The "static guard" spray will not leave a residue on the seats. It goes on like a water mist. Spray it on when you are not using your car and let it dry for a while. There will be a smell the next time you get into your car, but opening a window or turning on the vents will clear it out in short order. One shot per season usually solves the problem for me. If it is a year-round problem where you live, I would be surprised if you needed more than 3 or 4 applications per year.
 

James S

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I'll second the recomendation for static guard. Thats good stuff, and you won't need to refresh it very often. The smell is a bit odd, but not strong, long lived or very disagreeable. I used to spray my hairbrush with it during the winter in Chicago. It won't help you getting shocked if you make your static outside the car, but it will keep it from building up while you're sitting in it, spray your coat as well!

And a double double seconding for what Cobb said about pumping gas. We all do it so often that we don't realize just how potentially dangerous that stuff is. I'm not frightened by cellphones setting it off, the vapor concentration should never be that high up around your head without you knowing something is seriously wrong, but in the filler pipe where the spark will happen when you grab the pump handle and it arcs to the car is another matter entirely. This past winter the local news back where I used to live played some security cam footage of a guy having this problem, he reached out for the pump handle and a very impressive ball of fire erupted around the filler pipe! He was not hurt beyond loosing some arm hair and adrenalin poisoning /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif But the potential is there for bad things.
 

mrsinbad

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Thanks for all the suggetsions... Cobb does make a good point about gas pump dangers, and I will be mindful.

I'm in the Northeast, so the static electric shocks occur when the temps dip and I have to start to wear warmer jackets. I will give the Static Guard a try as that is probably the least painful and easiest thing to do.
 

Wingerr

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The static is built up as you slide across the seat to get out; it does help to hold onto some part of the body as you shuffle out, to keep the charge from building up.
Cotton clothing tends to have less tendency to generate charge, and wearing regular shoes rather than sneakers probably would help.
If I forget and get out of the car without touching the body, I close the door by pushing on the window to avoid the zap- /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif
I've actually tried measuring the voltage just the other day, but the DMM I was using is basically a short circuit, and it actually sparked at the leads, just registering an 8V blip. Luckily I didn't blow the meter, usually they're only rated to 1000 volts.
 

cobb

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THe touching idea before movement is an idea I like too. I use to have static from getting out of my lazy boy a few winters ago. I would get up, touch something and zap. I too use to touch a table leg as i was getting out to start the ground path before the static could build. For some reason it quit occuring after a few years.
 

mrsinbad

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Pushing the glass is a good idea, but is the static charge on me, the car, or both? Would the charge still be there and zap me later if I returned to the car in a few minutes/hours?
 

mccavazos

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when I get out of the car, I grap my keys first, and hold them tight then touch them to the outside frame of the car. Doesnt take any longer to get out and completely painless.
 
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