Kim Henson Advises on Getting Rid of Leaf Debris etc. from Car Bodywork Crevices, Whenever the Opportunity Arises.
It is surprising how much leaf debris and silt can collect in nooks and crannies around car bodywork, especially in areas that are difficult to access and so usually are left undisturbed for long periods.
Examples include hollows around and beneath scuttle panels, since such panels are often difficult to remove and therefore are only disturbed if they need to be (to gain access to suspension tower tops, screen wiper linkages, etc.). Often, there are also narrow, inaccessible apertures around the car’s battery, behind fluid reservoirs, and so on.
Initially the collection of such debris may not seem much of a problem, but the leaves and silt can harbour and hold moisture, which will eventually wreak havoc with the bodywork (in terms of corrosion) and with electrical/mechanical components nearby.
It is always a good idea to remove such dirt/debris on a frequent, regular basis, and/or whenever a cover panel (etc.) is removed for access. This is especially advisable if it is necessary for the vehicle to be parked beneath trees (if there is a choice, park in the open!).
Sometimes the debris can be scooped up in a gloved hand, but for more comprehensive and usually quicker progress, a narrow suction tool on a vacuum cleaner can work wonders. Always be careful not to disturb wiring and connections, and work with care so that other components are not damaged as you clean the area.
From the car depicted in the photograph, we removed half a large bucket-full of leaves, twigs and silt, all hidden beneath the front scuttle panel which was removed in order to reach the suspension towers.