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Can Leaves Damage Car Paint?


Autumn is the period when various tree species shed their leaves. Of course, Autumn leaves are beautiful, but as light and delicate as they seem, leaves can wreak serious havoc on a car.

It has probably never occurred to you that; Can leaves damage car paint?

It might seem ridiculous, but yes, Leaves can damage car paint. In fact, leaves can wreak havoc on your car in more ways than one.

How Leaves Can Damage Your Car

Although they may seem harmless, leaves are one of your car paint’s biggest enemies. They are so weightless, and many people are unaware that car damage from leaves is common.

Fallen Ginko Biloba leaves on car windshield and hood

Car Paint

As the leaves decompose, they release their acidic saps or pollen that ruins a car’s paint job. When they fall on your car and get damp, the acid content can leech into your car’s paint finish. It will eventually infiltrate the car’s clear coat.

Leaves also put your fresh paint job at risk of small micro-abrasions. Fallen leaves render your car susceptible to rust formation and water damage.

Watch out, most especially for maples and oak leaves. They tend to have a higher level of acidity. Aside from the seasonal leaves, pine trees are an all-year-round catastrophe near your car. The needles from pine trees are not only highly acidic. They could easily scratch the surface of the vehicle.

If you park your car under a pine tree for too long, needles fall on it. The needle’s sap will ultimately bore a hole through the car paint.

 Moreover, the damage caused by leaves to cars is not purely an aesthetic problem. It can damage the internal parts of your car. Leaves can somehow find their way into the nook and crannies of the car engine. Small pieces can get trapped under the hood, clogging your air conditioning system and exhaust pipes. This results in even costlier damage.

It can damage the windshield wipers

Leaves can get caught underneath the wipers. When they become hard and crisp, they scratch your windshield when you turn it on. This potential damage is why you should never use your wipers to remove fallen leaves.

It can cause unpleasant smells

Some rouge leaves can find their way into hidden areas of the car. As the residue begins to rot while stuck inside your car’s parts, it becomes impossible to remove them. Over time, mold and mildew may grow, developing an unpleasant smell. Not to talk of how harmful it is for passengers to inhale such polluted air.

The amount of time it takes for the damage to occur and the extent of the damage depends on the species of the leaves. The longer the leaves stay on the surface, the harder it is to prevent the harm they cause.

Preventing The Damage Caused By Leaves

Don’t pack your car beneath a tree.

Your car is easily susceptible to fallen leaves this way. Especially if you do not drive around much, it is best to avoid packing outside. Instead, pack your car in the garage. If you park outside in the open, Inspect your car at least once a day to brush off fallen leaves.

Get a Car Cover

You can protect your car exterior with something as simple as a car cover. Look for one that is waterproof, dustproof, and can protect the car against all kinds of weather. Some car covers also offer UV rays protection.

car under a protective cover parked on the

With a car cover, you can easily pack your vehicle outdoors without worrying about damage occasioned by leaves. It reduces your car’s exposure to fallen leaves.

Paint Protection

A dent in your car’s paint affects its overall appearance and its resale value. You can spray car paint protection to the car’s exterior.

You can also invest in a paint sealant that’ll protect your car for up to a year. Sealants contain polymer that gives your car exterior a clear coat finish. They are durable and last longer.

Washing and Waxing

Some drivers turn to seasonal coating or waxing to avoid any possible damage. Take out time in the fall to wash and wax your paint area. Waxing gives a coating that will defend the paint from leaf sediment. It also prepares the car for the harsher elements in the coming winter.

Washing and waxing are a definite way to keep your car’s shiny appearance. Furthermore, You can visit your local auto store for sap or tar removal.

Remove the leaves.

Usually, you should immediately remove any litter you find lingering on your car’s exterior. For leaves, It is vital to remove them as quickly as possible before any damage is done. However, ensure you do this carefully. We recommend handpicking the leaves or discarding them with a leaf blower adjusted to a light setting.

Using excessive pressure can cause leaves to become lodged in inaccessible areas of the car. You don’t want this to happen. Additionally, don’t attempt to sweep these leaves across the car using a broom. This attempt can cause minor abrasions on the surface exterior.

Getting Rid Of leave stains

You can remove the harmful residue left by leaves if you clean your car regularly. With laundry detergent and water, you can easily wash off tree sap stains on your car surface. Scrub the stained area with a stiff brush. Otherwise, you can mix a water and stain remover and let it sit on the surface for a few minutes. Afterward,  give the car a thorough rinse.

On a Final Note

Leaves are only harmful to cars because most car owners are oblivious of the possible damage they can inflict. The lack of awareness leads to the inability to prevent this damage. If care is not taken, the damages done to the vehicle’s exterior can cost you several hundred dollars. Follow these simple maintenance tips to protect your car from the extensive damage of fallen leaves.

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