Our vehicles are meant to be driven, and that’s already a given. But we are all adjusting to the new normal amidst this challenging time when we are dealing with quarantines, lockdowns, and social distancing measures – all in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. Which means daily-driven cars are currently immobilized for longer periods, and we know that a lot of you asks:
What do I need to do to take care of my car during quarantine period?
The following tips are applicable to all vehicles regardless of the make and model. As all cars that left unused will most likely develop some faulty issues. Here are our tips to keep your vehicles in tip top shape during lockdown:
- KEEP THE BATTERY CHARGED
The car battery is one of the most neglected items under the hood – until something goes wrong. There are many types of car batteries, but all of it needs a healthy state of charge to deliver peak performance.
While your vehicle is sitting idly in quarantine, it’s a good idea to keep the car battery fully charged. It’s a known fact that car batteries tend to discharge over time and driving infrequently means the battery is not getting its usual ration of electrons from the alternator.
Also, when the lockdown is over or during emergencies, the last thing you need is a car that won’t start. You can prevent this from happening by using a battery tender or trickle charger. Before doing this, make sure both the positive and negative terminals are devoid of dirt and corrosion. And if you do find corrosion, remove it with an old toothbrush and a liquid solution of water and baking soda.
- DRIVE AROUND THE BLOCK
Doing this will not only prevent future battery issues, but it ensures vital engine fluids are circulating the entire system. This reduces the chances of premature wear and tear to engine components, and it also prevents rust and corrosion from eating away your brake rotors.
If you have more than one or two vehicles in your household, it’s a good idea to alternate between vehicles on essential trips like buying food at the grocery store or going to the pharmacy. The idea is to allow the motor and transmission to warm up to its ideal operating temperature. This ensures all moving parts are properly lubricated to avoid premature wear and tear during cold starts.
But if driving the vehicle for 20 minutes or less is not an option, you can start the engine while the vehicle is parked and allow the motor to idle for 10 to 15 minutes; or at least allow the motor to reach its ideal operating temperature.
- CHECK ALL VITAL FLUIDS
After driving or warming up the engine, make it a habit to intermittently check all vital fluids including engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluids, and engine coolant. If any of the aforementioned fluids are low or lacking, replenish as necessary using fresh fluid.
- CHECK TIRE PRESSURE
When a vehicle is parked in the same position for prolonged periods, the tires may develop flat spots. This holds especially true if your car has old or balding tires. And if a vehicle is immobile for more than a week, the tires tend to lose air pressure.
Next time you gas up, it wouldn’t hurt to check the air pressure on all four tires. The recommended tire pressure of your vehicle is indicated in the door sticker. But for most vehicles, maintaining a tire pressure of 30 to 35 psi is ideal.
- WASH YOUR VEHICLES THOROUGHLY WITH CAR SHAMPOO
You may not notice it at first, but dust and dirt can quickly build up on an unused vehicle. Consistent exposure to wind, rain, sandstorm, and UV rays are harsh on paint and exterior plastic surfaces. And while you’re stuck at home with nothing else to do, it’s probably time to give your vehicle some much needed TLC.
However, never wash a vehicle under direct sunlight. Park the car in a shaded area or garage before rinsing the vehicle with water to remove standing dust and debris. Next, wash the vehicle using a wash mitt and a cleaning solution of water and car shampoo. Rinse the vehicle when done, and remove excess water using a clean, dry microfiber towel. Washing your vehicles can also be a good exercise and bonding activity with your family while in quarantine this summer.
But if your vehicle requires servicing or repair this quarantine season, car service centers are offering home pick-up and delivery, or no-contact drop off services to fulfill your needs. Remember, the most important thing right now besides keeping your car in shape, is to stay healthy and stay safe.