Paint Damage from Falling Leaves?

Fall weather tends to turn our thoughts to shorter daylight, more football, Halloween and the Holidays.  Some may even make a special trip to the mountains or countryside just to see the beautiful array of colorful leaves as they turn and begin to drop.  So many vibrant colors…but maybe you weren’t aware that those spectacular Autumn leaves can actually damage to your car in multiple ways?  Yes, one or two won’t cause Armageddon…but if allowed to collect unchecked and unremoved…those leaves can do some serious damage to your vehicle’s paint job, especially if it’s clear coat has more than a few years of wear and tear.

parked cars with yellow fallen tree leaves on hoods

Paint Damage? How Can Leaves Cause That?
Fallen leaves contain small amounts of sap and pollen that when rained upon…causes acid to leech out of the leaves and penetrate your car’s clear coat…resulting in dull spots and paint peel. If left unchecked, wet leaves can even cause rust to form, especially when they get trapped between moldings and trim.  Maybe you’ve even seen a wet leaf left sticking to the hood of a car until it dries…creating an actual leaf print in the paint.

Leaves Cause Other Damage Too?
Leaves left trapped between the body and hood can cause damage to your vehicle’s HVAC (air conditioning & heat) system by pulling in tiny pieces of leaf debris.  Accumulated leaves left unchecked can block air inflow and damage the engine or heating system. Also, mold and mildew can easily form from rotting leaves.

How Do You Prevent Fallen Leaves Damage?

  1. Don’t park directly under trees…if at all possible.  It helps avoid leaf buildup.
  2. If/when leaves do appear on the hood, roof & trunk of your car, hose them off ASAP. Don’t just wipe them off with your hand or a brush…that actually scratches your paint.
  3. Open the hood and use an air compressor or high power vacuum to remove any leaves or pieces of leaves that you see.  Ask your trusted auto mechanic to inspect the engine compartment and ensure no unwanted leaves have accumulated.
  4. Wash & Wax regularly. Visit your car wash and take advantage of undercarriage sprayers and high-pressure wands to get to every nook and cranny of your car. Apply a coat of strong, durable wax to help protect the paint from acid and sap in leaves.

Following these protective steps will allow you enjoy to the spectacle of the Autumn foliage when you head out on that road trip to the countryside…without worrying about car damage.  Your Irish Coffee or Hot Toddy will taste even better while you enjoy the landscape!

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