Can Fall Leaves Damage Your Car?

November 8, 2016

road surrounded by fallen leaves

Fall season in Greater Cleveland means gorgeous fall color — who wouldn’t want to take their car for a spin to admire some beautiful burgundy, rust, and golden tones of autumn leaves? Yet these same gorgeous fall leaves can be wreaking havoc on your vehicle without you even realizing it.

Leaves contain acidic substances like sap and pollen that can leach into the outer coating of paint on your car. With the warm days and cool nights of autumn, the metal exterior beneath the paint expands and contracts. This warming and cooling lets even more acid in which then deteriorates the paint, leaving leaf-shaped stains over the body of your car. When the leaves are wet or rotting, this process is escalated even further.

As they fall, leaves can also scratch your fresh paint job, leaving small micro-abrasions that leave your car susceptible to rust, water damage, and… well… more leaves. Leaves piling up on your car can even clog your air conditioning systems or exhaust pipes causing further damage to your vehicle. If the leaves begin to rot while stuck inside your car’s parts, they become even more difficult to remove and start to leave an unpleasant smell. Therefore, it’s crucial to remove leaves as soon as you see them on your car. Just be sure you do so with care — vigorously brushing leaves off of your car can leave scratches as well.

Leaves on the roadway pose a hazard to drivers as well. In addition to piling on roadways and covering curbs and potholes, they limit drivers’ abilities to see road markings. Wet leaves can also make roads slippery and cause cars to slide if they suddenly brake.

The team members at your local Northeast Ohio Rad Air Complete Car Care & Tire Center hope that you and your vehicle stay safe this fall season! Contact us for any automotive repair or maintenance needs.