With the whole country quarantined an under lock-down, stay-at-home orders, many car owners will be driving much less—if at all—during the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s the big thing – if your car sits for a long time, chances are it won’t start because the battery is dead.
While you’re not adding the wear and tear of a daily commute or paying as much for petrol or diesel, you can’t completely forget about your car while it sits in your driveway.
If drivers leave their cars idle for too long, batteries could die, fuel could go stale, brakes could rust and even rodents can work their way inside the mechanisms. Trust me I’ve had rats living in the bonnet of my car, chewing on the cables and spongy parts and my car was only parked for two days.
Here is a list of care-car tips to help you keep your car safe:
Park your vehicle safely
Make sure that your vehicle is parked in a covered spot or parking. However, if you don’t have one, cover your car or bike with a vehicle cover. This is required in order to protect your prized possession from sunlight and bird poop. Park your car preferably in a position that if your needs to be jump started, your battery is in a position where it can be easily accessed.
Disconnect the battery
Usually your battery will start breaking down within 72 hours.
As your vehicle has to be parked for a significant amount of time, it is important to prevent its battery from getting discharged. Disconnect the battery of your vehicle by removing the connections. If you don’t intend to remove the battery then start your vehicle every 4 to 5 days and keep the engine idling for a few minutes in order to ensure the normal functioning of the battery and prevent it from running out of juice.
This is the perfect time to give the interior of your car a thorough clean!
If your vehicle is not properly cleaned, your vehicle could be a hotbed for coronavirus and other infections and germs. We suggest using hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes to wipe down the interior of your car and any other area that could be considered a high-touch area. A good rule of thumb is to clean areas that you contact regularly and to sanitize your hands on an hourly basis. These include door handles, door latches, lock buttons, seat belts and buckles, window buttons, mirrors, radio and climate control buttons and more. This is also a perfect time to wash your car mats and fabric on the seats which carry dirt and dust too. The steering wheel has four times the amount of germs found on an average toilet seat, thanks to all the cracks and crevices on the rim and spokes, according to Expedia Travel Group’s website, CarRentals.com.
Drive the car if possible
If you are able to drive the car then do so at least once every week to get it fully warmed up on the highway. Remember to be safe when you go out and prevent the Coronavirus spread, it is utterly important to wear gloves and face mask at all times. Also wash your hands properly with soap and sanitise them once you are back in your home.
Inflate the tyres to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation. The correct pressure is usually found on the inner side of the driver’s door on the placard. Tyres naturally lose air, so it is a good idea to frequently check the tyre pressure. Keep your tyres clean even though your vehicle is parked and keep your tyres out of the sun and in the shade.
Petrol will typically last in a car for 6 months. However, the key to making petrol last this long is to make sure that you have a full tank of petrol, which will help reduce condensation due to weather fluctuations. If you plan on having your car idle for an extended period of time with diesel fuel, the key is to fill up the tank with clean fresh diesel. If you have a full tank of fresh clean diesel, it can last 6 months to a year.
Avoid the handbrake for parking
Avoid the use of the hand brake to park your car for a prolonged period of time and engage the first gear to park your vehicle instead. With your car set to be in the hibernation and no-movement zone for the next few weeks, the hand brake could get jammed, You can also do is to park your vehicle in the traditional way by putting a piece of wood or brick just behind the tyres to prevent it from rolling.
Use sprays and granules to deter rodents, which can chew on wires and cause thousands worth of damage, make nests in your filters and cause other messes. These sprays are available in motor spare shops.
Examine Your Engine Belt
Engine belts and anything that is made of rubber will deteriorate over time. If the rubber is in good shape, it will typically last 6 months or longer.
Show your car some love-Maintenance
This is the perfect time to show your car some love. Take a few minutes to lubricate door locks (if accessible), hinges, the hood release and even the gas door release. Use a light oil or silicone spray but not a penetrating oil, as penetrating oil tends to wash away lubricants.
- Don’t ignore needed maintenance Wash your car weekly if it’s parked outside, try to keep it out of the sun and wash off bird droppings as this can damage the finish.
- The steering wheel has four times the amount of germs found on an average toilet seat. Keep it clean!
- Don’t forget, that if you are caring for an elderly relative or friend who’s not supposed to go out, it may also mean caring for their vehicle.
When the lockdown is over, drive your car for 30 minutes to exercise all the moving parts of the engine, help maintain the battery and get the maximum benefit for all the fluids and tyres.