Shifting seasons mean damage can be done to your car’s paint job, not just the usual suspects like road salt and strong sunlight. As the trees release their autumn colors, the leaves can damage the exterior of your car.

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Leaves find their way into vehicular inaccessible places—getting stuck under wipers, clogging air intake and drain holes, and jamming sunroofs. Wet leaves also contain tree sap, which is acidic and can damage the finish on car paint, so it’s best to avoid parking under trees—especially if you’re not driving much.

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Rob Harper, Director of Operations for Automotive Gibbart International, said, “Whatever is on your paint, you must clean it immediately and sometimes this is not possible if you drive multiple cars and one is parked all the time. ” Aftermarket company that specializes in refreshing exteriors.

“More often than not, you want to do something to protect it. And it can be as simple as a car cover,” he continued. “But most of our customers apply some sort of paint protection. Whether it’s a seasonal wax that lasts a few months or a paint sealant that typically lasts about a year, up to our ceramic Z-Gloss, which has a A 10-year warranty on it and protects your car’s paint from all those things.”

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As the leaves decompose, they release acids such as sap and pollen that damage the painted surfaces of the vehicle. Compounds released from wet leaves damaged unprotected paint within a few hours – depending on the species of tree involved.

Trees to be especially careful of are maple and oak because they have a tendency to have very high acid content. However, the most harmful tree to have near your car is not a pine tree, but a pine tree. Pine tree needles are a year-round problem; These have the highest amount of acid.

As leaves fall off, they can also scratch your new paint job, causing tiny micro-abrasions that leave your car more susceptible to rust, water damage and more leaves, repeating the cycle.

The metal exterior under the paint expands and contracts due to hot weather days and cold nights. This warming and cooling causes more acid to be produced which then tarnishes the paint, leaving leaf-shaped spots on the body of your car. This process is accelerated when leaves become wet or rot.

Leaves that collect on your car can also clog your air conditioning system or exhaust pipes, causing further damage to your vehicle. If the leaves start to rot when stuck inside your car parts, they are even more difficult to remove and they start to smell.

It’s important to remove leaves from your car as soon as possible, but do so with care. Experts suggest taking them by hand or using a leaf blower on the light setting.

“If you use a broom to pull these leaves into the car, they can wipe off a little bit of the clear coat,” Harper said.

“Anytime you’re putting a texture, even a subtle texture, in a clear coat, it’s going to affect the way sunlight bounces off the paint. … left unchecked That is, those small ridges or valleys, microscopic basins, can collect contaminants, which make the picture worse.”

To unclog sunroof drains, use a vacuum to remove leaves, not scrape an object, as you could damage the headliner. Don’t forget to pop the hood to clear the leaves near the base of the windshield, where the car’s heater intake system is. Finish by thoroughly washing your car.

If left unchecked, damage to the exterior of your vehicle can cost several hundred dollars.

To reduce the effects of leaves on a car, vehicle owners can expand their models or invest in seasonal waxing. Many extension shops also offer some sort of sealant that will seal the paint for about a year.