Nothing reminds me of autumn more than the beautiful displays of red, orange, and yellow leaves throughout our
neighborhood. Of course, this also means that I’ll have to dedicate a few hours to raking the yard every weekend, but that’s all… right? Actually, there’s another important thing to keep an eye on during the fall season. Most people aren’t aware of it, but leaves can actually cause damage to your car.
For the most part, many of the falling leaves will simply land on your hood or roof, and then blow away in the wind. However, when the leaves (or your car) are wet from rain, they will stick. If they are left on there too long, they can start to decompose and release chemicals onto your vehicle. These substances can include sap, pollen, and acid, and they have two negative effects. First, these substances (especially sap) will make the leaves even stickier over time, making it harder for you to remove them. After the leaves are gone, if not removed or washed right away, this residue can leave marks on your paint or stick to your windshield, creating trouble for your wiper blades. The second negative effect is that the chemicals can leach into your paint causing spots, marks, and discoloration. Therefore, you can kiss that fresh paint job goodbye if you’re allowing leaves to pile up on your vehicle for days at a time.
In extreme cases, leaves can start to rot within your undercarriage leading to rust and unpleasant smells. You especially need to make sure that leaves aren’t clogging either your AC system or exhaust pipe. A quick maintenance check every week can possibly save you hundreds in repairs.
The most obvious prevention method would be to park in a garage or beneath an awning whenever you have a chance. You can also purchase a car cover if you aren’t able to park away from the elements or out from under the trees. Of course, leaves will still get on your car when you’re driving around, so we recommend carefully removing leaves by hand in order to avoid scratching your paint. You might also want to visit your local car wash 2 to 3 times more than you typically do in a season.
By treating leaves like you would snow (removing it from your car before you drive and driving carefully when it’s coating the road) you shouldn’t have a problem this autumn. Regular leaf removal, car washing, and maintenance checks will ensure that your car will be safe and clean all season long.