Autumn leaves are a beautiful sight to see, but they can wreak havoc on your car in all sorts of ways. Not only can fallen leaves be as slippery as ice, leading to more accidents, but they also can damage a car’s finish, clog air intakes or drain holes, scratch your car and more. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to help your vehicle avoid damage, so you can continue to enjoy the beauty of autumn leaves without worrying about damage to your car.
Protect Your Car’s Finish from Leaves
Dead leaves often contain tree sap, which is acidic. Acid is no friend to a car’s paint job. If left to sit, leaves can slowly erode the clear coat or even the paint itself. It’s best to remove leaves quickly from a car, and to do so by hand to avoid scratching your car’s paint. Additionally, tree sap can be removed with rubbing alcohol dabbed onto a microfiber cloth, or you can purchase special tree sap remover. Always be sure to test any products on a small, hidden area of paint on your vehicle before starting, to make sure it doesn’t cause any discoloration. After cleaning off your car, be sure to give it a good rinse or take it through a car wash. Getting a wax finish prior to fall can also help protect your car from leaf damage.
Clear Out Any Clogs Caused by Leaves
When removing leaves from your car, don’t forget about hidden areas where leaves can collect, such as under the hood, air intakes and drain holes around sunroofs. Leaves can clog all of these areas, causing issues down the road. Leaves left to sit can develop mildew or mold, or even lead to corrosion and rust over time. It’s best to periodically inspect your car for any hidden leaves to make sure these areas are clear of debris.
Avoid Scratches from Leaves on Your Windows/Windshield
Along with acidity, leaves are also abrasive and can cause scratches to your car. For example, if you turn on your windshield wipers, swiping dead leaves back and forth across can scratch the glass. It’s better to pick the leaves off by hand, or with a tool like a leaf blower or gentle brush. To avoid scratches, make sure to clear off any leaves that land on your car before driving, and especially clear off the windshield before using the wipers. A car cover can also help protect your car from scratches, as well as preserve the finish. If you do decide to use a car cover, make sure to invest in a high-quality one; lower-quality covers can actually scratch your vehicle as well.