Autumn leaves are both a driving hazard and a danger to your car

Autumn leaves are both a driving hazard and a danger to your car

Hello Loyal Beaverton readers,

Thanks to all of you who wrote in. I appreciate your feedback and suggestions.

Speaking of suggestions, I received a few calls last month about the large amount leaves on falling on the road and our cars and if we should be concerned. I’d like to specifically thank Brian from Beaverton for his questions regarding paint stains and hidden road hazards.

The hazard of driving on cold, wet leaves

Leaves are one of the big autumn risks for motorists due to the reduction in traction they can cause on a cold, and possibly wet, day. A wet road is bad enough but introduce water-soaked leaves into the mix and that spells trouble since stopping distance is increased dramatically.

Leaves hide hidden dangers on the roads

Leaves do a brilliant job of masking irregularities in the road and that means suspension-rattling potholes for one. Bear in mind that potholes cause a great amount of damage to cars each year. If a pothole is disguised, you can limit the damage by making sure your tires are at the correct pressure.

The other thing you need to be aware of is that leaves can also sometimes mask painted lines on the road. Give the leaves a quick kick with your foot when you park to make sure you’re not accidentally sitting on a double yellow line!

Leaves can stain your car’s paintwork

If leaves fall on your car and they’re not removed for a few days, they can start to decompose releasing lots of different chemicals including tannic acid and sap, onto your car. This acid can leech into the paint, and in many cases, leave a stain which is virtually impossible to remove without professional help. You could even be left with a leaf-shaped ‘silhouette’ on your car – which probably isn’t the look you were going for!

My advice is to be vigilant about removing leaves from paintwork, particularly if you regularly leave your car parked under trees for several days at a time. Washing and waxing your car regularly should repel the worst of what leaves can throw at paintwork.  In the event you do end up with minor staining, there are commercial products available to remove it.

Leaves can clog up important area

It’s not just your car’s paintwork that takes a battering. Leaves and foliage that fall from trees often end up gathering in the gully where the bottom of the windscreen meets the Hood. Get enough debris in there and it can cause blockages. This means that drain holes in the bottom of this ‘plenum chamber’ get so clogged up that rainwater can’t escape, then eventually seeps into the car’s interior.

From soggy carpets accompanied by a rancid, moldy smell to the electrical problems that cause intermittent problems, water seeping into your car’s interior can be a major headache. The bottom line is my recommendation to take the time to remove leaves from the seams of your car where wind won’t blow them away.

Clogged air vents

As winter approaches, we’ll all be relying heavily on our car’s heater to de-fog cold windscreens in the morning. If your car’s air intakes are clogged up with leaves, this will reduce the flow through interior vents and cause your front window to take forever to defrost. You might also get annoying noises, where small bits of leaves break off, get sucked into the heater box and then produce an irritating rattle.

These are just a few of the obvious things that leaves can do to cause difficulty for us and our vehicle, not to mention our safety. Thank You all for reading, I greatly appreciate it.

If anyone needs help with the purchase, lease, or sale of a vehicle of any kind please do not hesitate to call us, or contact us via email. or (503) 930-1493