The last thing you ever want to see when you're driving down the road is flames flickering up from beneath the edges of your hood. An engine fire can occur for a few reasons, including one that relates to leaves being packed beneath the hood. During the fall, squirrels and other neighborhood animals will often stockpile leaves for the winter, and one of the locations that they seek can be under the hood of your vehicle. The dry leaves are highly flammable, and may catch fire when your engine heats up — potentially leaving you with a need for serious repair work. Here are some tips on managing this situation.

Park In Your Garage

Parking in your garage is an effective way to limit the risk of a fire caused by leaves packed under your hood. When your car is parked in the driveway, squirrels can busily carry leaves up into the engine bay, and unless you're popping the hood regularly, you might never realize that leaves are even present. Although squirrels can sometimes get into your garage, the likelihood of you dealing with this dangerous situation is much lower when you park in an enclosed area.

Check Under The Hood And Remove The Leaves

It's a good autumn practice to get into the habit of lifting your car's hood regularly and seeing if leaves are present. If this is the case, you can pick them out by hand. Another alternative is to use an air compressor if you have one. Put on the attachment that lets you blow air, and then direct the high-powered stream of air to anywhere under the hood that the leaves are present. Performing this maintenance task regularly will help to keep leaves out of harm's way and thus reduce your risk of a fire that requires significant repairs.

Visit The Repair Shop

While a fire can send you to the local automotive repair shop, you shouldn't by shy about making a visit if you're constantly dealing with leaves packed under your hood. Squirrels who are nesting in this area can damage components, such as bychewing through wires and hoses. Perhaps you've even noticed signs of such issues, whether it's an electrical component that works only sporadically or a drip of an engine lubricant on your driveway. Your local automotive repair technician will be able to thoroughly assess the vehicle to identify and repair any squirrel-caused damage.

Contact an auto repair shop like Huntington Beach Transmissions for additional information.