While fall signals cooler weather ahead, in Phoenix, we often don’t get to enjoy the changing colors of the leaves as much as the rest of the country. That may be a good thing because, believe it or not, those beautiful autumn leaves can cause problems for your vehicle. Even if the changing colors of autumn may not be all around us in Phoenix, AZ, you can be prepared if you travel or happen to have a leafy tree of your own. We are going to review what issues leaves can bring for you and your vehicle and how to prevent leaves from damaging your vehicle this fall.
How can leaves harm your vehicle?
Before we can review how to prevent leaves from damaging your vehicle this fall, we thought it would be a good idea to dig into how the colorful things blowing in the wind can cause damage to your car, truck, or SUV.
- Exterior Paint: Falling wet leaves contain tree sap and pollen, which is acidic and can damage the finish on a car’s paint. Trapped leaves can also lead to rust formation on your vehicle.
- Increased Risk of Accidents: Wet leaves can be as slippery as ice. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, a vehicle that normally needs 80 feet to stop may need up to 200 feet on wet leaves. Leaves on roadways also hide many road hazards, such as potholes, tree limbs, curbs, etc., leading to a greater risk of accidents.
- Air Filter and Engine: When leaves get trapped between the body and hood, they can clog your car’s air filter and cause engine performance issues. Leaves that begin to rot can produce mold and mildew to grow inside your cabin air filter, resulting in air that’s musty and unhealthy for you to breathe.
- Interior: Your vehicle has drain holes that allow water to clear off of areas of your vehicle. If leaves build up and clog these holes, particularly underneath your windshield, water can start dripping inside your car and could damage your car’s interior.
How to prevent leaves from damaging your vehicle this fall
While we may not be at great risk for falling leaves in Phoenix, AZ, if you travel this autumn you will likely find yourself around them, so it’s important to understand the ways you can protect your vehicle from falling leaves.
- Park under cover: The best way to prevent leaves from falling on your vehicle and causing damage, is to park your car, truck, or SUV under a structure that provides cover.
- Don’t park near or under trees: If you don’t have access to a covered parking spot, then avoid parking near or under trees. Not only can the falling leaves damage your vehicle, the sap from the tree can also cause issues.
- Remove leaves when you see them: Don’t wait to clean off a leaf covered car until you drive it, make taking leaves off your car a habit. You should at least rid your car of leaves once a day to try to prevent damage.
- Check your engine for leaves: Check and clear under the hood and your engine for leaves. You can pop the hood and use an air compressor or high-powered vacuum to remove leaf debris from around the engine. If your vehicle is in a Phoenix, AZ auto repair shop, you can also ask them to check to remove any leaves that may have gotten into the engine compartment.
- Wash and wax frequently: Getting your vehicle washed will remove some of the residue that leaves leave on your car, truck, or SUV. If your car is frequently around leaves, you will want to wash it regularly to prevent a build up of residue. You should opt into applying a coat of high-quality wax in the early fall to help protect the paint from leaves.
- Drive with caution: Lastly, drive with caution when on a leaf covered road. Make sure your tire tread is where it should be, brake with care, and watch for hidden obstacles on the road.
If you decide to travel to a leafy picturesque area, you can prevent leaves from damaging your vehicle this fall.
At Advanced Transmissions & Emissions, we are here to help if things don’t go your way. Advanced Transmissions & Emissions specializes in transmission repair, transmission rebuilding, and transmission remanufacturing and all your automotive repair needs from brakes, engine repair, tune ups and more.
We are a full-service auto mechanic repair shop. If your check engine light is on we offer a free diagnostic check while you wait. Visit us today or fill out our online form for service.