Protecting your car against leaves
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Winter isn’t too far away. Temperatures are dropping, it’s getting darker much earlier and leaves have started to fall from the trees.
The change in weather can produce many issues, but the problem with leaves is that they land on everything and can cause unwanted issues.
Yes, they may look pretty and create business opportunities for gutter and drain cleaners, but they also play havoc with our vehicles.
A wet leaf left to rot on vehicle bodywork can cause an unsightly stain or paint blemish due to the sap, pollen and acids that can exist within it.
This will most likely stay for life on the paint of your car, unless caught early and treated — much like the stain left from a bird dropping.
Leaves get into those hard-to-reach places such as down the sides of the bonnet and boot seams, and can be a common cause of rust. And once the paint is damaged, it is no longer protected from moisture and rust will soon set in.
Leaves get everywhere
Leaves can also block 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 caused damage to electrical components. This can often go unnoticed until a problem occurs which can be expensive to fix.
Clean your filters
In autumn, it’s 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 vent system will work when you need it to over winter.
No one likes to hear the sound of the chewing of leaves when you turn the fan on, even less when mashed leaves are propelled out the heater vents.
Leaves on the ground can also present their fair share of headaches. They can mask things in the road such as potholes and curbs, and can also make soft ground seem hard.
Take extra care when driving around roads 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?
1. Don’t park under trees. Or if you must, park only under trees that have lost most of their leaves.
2. Remove leaves often. If you are concerned that significant leaves may fall on your car, try removing them each day. Using your hands can limit the amount of scratches they may cause — use a soft brush to sweep them off.
3. 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.
4. 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.