The coronavirus pandemic has brought about several problems for a lot of people. Everyone worries about their health and financial security. With everything that has been going on lately, it is understandable if you do not have car maintenance at the top of your priority list.
Due to the lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, cars are parked for extended periods. This is actually bad for your vehicle. Therefore, it is important to know what you can do to avoid unnecessary trips to an auto body repair shop. Check out this list of things you can do to ensure your car is still in top condition.
Drive Your Car At Least Once a Week
Parking your car for extended periods of time can cause several problems for your vehicle. Not using it regularly can cause your battery to discharge. To avoid this, it is important to take your car for a spin. Driving charges your battery.
It is recommended to take your car for a drive for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour every week. The battery charging rate is directly proportional to the number of revolutions of the engine. If you drive on a freeway, your engine RPM is higher. Therefore, your car’s alternator can charge your battery in roughly 30 minutes. However, driving around the city may take an hour or more to charge your battery because your engine runs slower due to traffic and speed limits.
Your battery discharge rate can also be affected by various other factors such as climate conditions or your car’s age. Therefore, when it comes to taking your car out for a ride, you don’t need to follow a rigid schedule. Just make sure to drive your car at least once a week.
Another benefit of taking your vehicle out regularly is avoiding rodents and other small creatures from nesting in your car. If you park on the street or in an open garage, possums, rodents, and other creatures can crawl up your car’s hood. Rodents are especially nasty because they can mess up your car’s electrical system by biting or chewing on the wires. You can avoid this from happening by starting your car at least 2 or 3 times a week if you don’t have the time to take it out for a drive.
Keep Your Regular Maintenance Schedule
Using your car less doesn’t mean you can delay your maintenance schedule. Preventive maintenance is even more important if you haven’t used your car as much as you usually did. First, you have to make sure that your car’s mechanical parts are properly lubricated. This means that you still need to check your fluid and oil levels regularly. Always make sure you have coolant and brake fluids ready to refill whenever you need to.
Prolonged parking can also cause your tire pressure to decrease. The weight of the vehicle can also cause flat spots to develop on your tires. Flat spots happen when your tires come into contact with the ground for too long. Have your vehicle regularly maintained as these can cause steering problems or slips if left unchecked.
Fill Up Your Gas Tank
Since you will not use your car, why is there a need to fill it up with fuel? Filling up your gas tank seems to be counterintuitive. However, it is perfectly logical. If you are going to park your car long term, having a full cylinder prevents moisture from forming inside the tank. Water can condense inside your fuel tank, which causes it to rust.
If you don’t have time to drive your car around, you still need to start it up at least once a week. After starting, leave the car idle for at least 20 minutes to charge the battery. Make sure to turn on your A/C as well so that you can check if it’s still functioning properly. Doing all these things consume fuel, so having a full gas tank will come in handy.
Be Mindful of Where You Park
Make sure to check where you park your car. Parking your car on grass or dirt is generally a bad idea, especially if your car’s underside isn’t rust-proof. Dew forms on the grass. When it evaporates, the water condenses when it touches your vehicle’s cold underside — accumulating moisture. Similarly, dirt turns into mud when it rains, which can cause blotches to stick to your car, bringing more moisture to the surface. To avoid these, try to find a parking spot on gravel or pavement.
Apart from taking care of your vehicle’s undercarriage, it is also important to check where you park under. While it is good to find shade under a tree, parking there for an extended period can cause problems in your car. Tree sap and bird poop can fall on your car. Because of their natural acidity, it can be a nightmare for your car’s paint job —it can get damaged if left unchecked for hours or days. Avoid this by parking away from these areas or using a car cover.
These are some of the things you can do to avoid problems in your vehicle, especially during the lockdown. If you haven’t done these things for a while now, it is always a good idea to bring your car to an auto body repair shop for maintenance. Doing this can help minimize risks and avoid roadside problems if you will be using your car for a long drive.