Car Care: Prevent Mother Nature from damaging your car this year
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Autumn is well and truly here — the weather has cooled down, it’s getting darker a lot earlier and the leaves have started to fall from the trees.
The change in weather can produce many issues, but the problem with leaves is that they get everywhere. They may look pretty and create business opportunities for gutter and drain cleaners, but they also play havoc with vehicles.
A wet leaf left to rot on bodywork can cause an unsightly stain or paint blemish due to the sap, pollen and acids that exist within it.
This could stay for life on the paint, unless caught early and treated — much like the stain left from a bird dropping. Leaves get into those hard-to-reach places like down the sides of the bonnet and boot seams, and can be a common cause of rust; once the paint is damaged, it is no longer protected from moisture.
Leaves get everywhere
Leaves can also block up vehicle drains and channels, which causes water to back up and leak into places it shouldn’t. If you’ve had a vehicle with a sunroof, you may have even experienced an unintended shower on the odd occasion.
The main concern for some vehicles is where the drains have blocked and caused water to leak inside the cabin and damaged electrical components. This can go unnoticed until a problem occurs, which can be expensive to fix.
Clean your filters
In autumn, it’s very important to regularly check, clean or replace your vehicle pollen and air filters.
These filter in the outside air and are prone to filling with leaves and sticks. This will ensure the engine will breathe and your heater fan and ventilation system will actually work when you need it to over winter.
No one likes to hear the chewing of leaves when you turn the fan on — or mashed leaves being propelled out the heater vents.
An unwanted hazard
Leaves on the ground can also present their fair share of headaches.
They can mask things in the road like potholes and curbs, and can also make soft ground seem hard.
Make sure you take extra care when driving around roads that are littered with wet leaves. In some extreme cases, a pile of dry leaves could even be a fire hazard if a car with a hot exhaust system parks over it.
So what can you do?
Don’t park under trees
Or if you must, park only under trees that have lost the majority of their leaves.
Remove leaves often
If you are concerned that significant leaves may fall on your car, try removing them each day. Using your hands limits potential scratching, but if you are concerned, you can use a soft brush.
Consider a car cover/ shelter
This is especially helpful if you leave your car in the same place for long periods of time. A car cover not only protects your car against leaf damage, but the effects of droppings, UV and rain too.
One last wash
Once most of the leaves have fallen and winter is on its way, give your car one last deep clean — make sure you wax it, and remove all the leaves that may be hiding in small spots, such under your windscreen wipers.