Clearing the Leaves

Every week, from about September to March, we clear up more dead foliage than Alan Titchmarsh. Unlike that well known gardener, we clear it from underneath the bonnets of cars.

Go and have a look at your car, look at the bottom of the windscreen. Most modern cars will have a ventilation/air intake gap between the top edge of the bonnet and the base of the windscreen and into that gap will blow oak and ash, chestnut and lime. Not the whole tree of course, just the leaves that have fallen from them and don’t think that your car is ok because you never park under trees, the wind will do a perfectly good job of making it look like you do.

Under there is a ‘scuttle panel’ – usually a plastic ‘grille’ style trim somewhere around where the wipers are mounted, that allows air to flow through but keeps debris out. The grille or mesh style means that it also allows water to enter and whilst this is perfectly normal, in order to stop it accumulating underneath, there are drains on either side which run down inside the bodywork and direct the water safely out of the bottom of the car.

The problems, and the reason for this post, start when all those dead leaves are just left to accumulate on that scuttle panel, never being moved or cleaned out, often for months on end and years on end is not uncommon to see. What happens then is the leaves do as nature intended and rot down, breaking up into an almost dust like nature, which can then fall through the grilles and collect underneath. This debris then gets washed down into the drains and collects there over time, eventually causing a blockage and water to puddle above it. Now it doesn’t take a qualified technician to tell you the sort of damage water can cause to electrical components like wiper motors, which are in that vicinity, or to carpets and wiring when the water finds an alternative escape route.

So, save your self the stress of wet carpets, wobbly computers and wonky wipers – once a week, lift the bonnet and clear away all those leaves that have gathered under there. It will cost you 5 minutes each time but save you considerably more in the long run.

If you can hear any sounds of water sloshing around when turning corners, get the car booked into the workshops to have those inner drains unblocked before the water causes any problems.