Published: April 27, 2020 | Updated: October 19, 2020 | Posted by: Venus Zoleta | Car Insurance
The government-imposed lockdown to control the Coronavirus spread has restricted the movement of not just people but also vehicles. While you’re stuck at home, your car is stuck as well in the garage for a long time.
That’s the new normal for you and your ride. However, cars are designed to be driven regularly—not to sit idle for extended periods. The longer your vehicle stays put, the higher the risk of damage and expensive repair bills.
Keep your vehicle in a good running condition during the COVID-19 quarantine period with these 10 car maintenance tips.
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Keep your car clean—even if you’re not using it as often—to prevent permanent damage to the paint job and to keep bad odor and molds from building up in the exterior. Car sanitation is also a must to get rid of viruses and other germs.
Since most carwash shops are closed, you have no choice but to wash, wax, and disinfect your vehicle by yourself at least once a week. Do these DIY car maintenance tasks more often to protect your ride if it gets sprayed with harsh disinfectants at checkpoints.
While your car sits idle during the quarantine, keep your gas tank full. This will prevent moisture buildup in the tank, which may lead to eventual problems in the fuel delivery system. A full tank also keeps gasoline fumes from accumulating to dangerous levels.
With fuel prices taking a dip these days, take advantage of the cost savings by filling your tank.
Even though you don’t use your car a lot, its battery can still get drained. Over time, you’ll end up with a dead battery if you don’t do something to extend its lifespan. If you have a trickle charger or smart charger at home, use it to charge your battery.
If you’re driving occasionally, disconnect the negative terminal first and then the positive terminal. Wear protective gloves while doing this. Don’t touch the two terminals at the same time.
If you’re not using your car at all, just remove the entire battery.
You and your car need something in common: to stay in good shape, you need to keep moving.
If your area is not under a total lockdown, drive your car at least once a week to buy groceries and other essentials. This way, you keep the battery charged, keep moving parts from drying out, and prevent premature tire wear.
If you won’t go anywhere, you can start your engine and let it run for about half an hour. Do this short drive just around the block until it reaches full operating temperature.
Keeping your oil fresh is a must, especially if your car is left unused for a long period. It’s one of the top tips on how to take care of your car. Changing oil gets rid of contaminants that can damage the engine.
Refer to your owner’s manual for instructions on how to change oil. If DIY oil change isn’t possible, try to find a mechanic who can do it for you.
Your tires can lose air even if your car isn’t moving for a long time. If the tires are not sufficiently inflated, your car’s fuel consumption and handling performance will suffer.
A critical part of DIY car maintenance, with or without a lockdown, is checking the tires (including the spare tire) using a tire pressure gauge to ensure they’re at the recommended pressure level. Add more air when necessary if you have a portable air compressor at home.
If you don’t have the tools, you can have your tires inflated on your next trip to the gas station.
If your car stays idle for too long, the rubber on the wiper blades can stick to the windshield and leave an unsightly mark.
To prevent this, take the wiper blades off the windshield if you won’t be driving for a long time. But if you need to drive occasionally, just insert a plastic wrap between the blades and the windshield.
Automotive experts warn against using the parking brake if a car sits idle for more than a month. Over time, it can cause corrosion to seize the braking system’s moving parts. This is a typical issue in the Philippines because of our humid climate.
So before parking your car during a lockdown, don’t use the parking brake. Instead, place your vehicle in “Park” if it’s an automatic. If your car is a manual, put the transmission in “Reverse” or first gear.
Another tip on how to take care of your car is don’t forget to use wheel chocks to ensure your car stays put on an uneven surface while it’s parked.
The best place to park your car is in a covered garage where it’s shielded from the heat of the sun and other damaging elements.
If you don’t have space for parking indoors, choose a safe parking space, ideally under a shade and on a concrete surface. Avoid parking on a grassy spot or anywhere that allows moisture to reach your vehicle’s undercarriage and cause rusting.
Just as front liners need personal protective equipment, cars also need protective gear.
If you’re parking outdoors, make sure to use a waterproof car cover to protect your vehicle from the elements. Also, remember to place a sunshade on your windshield to protect the dashboard and steering wheel against harmful UV rays.
But if you’re parking indoors, no need to wrap your car with a cover. This will prevent moisture buildup and eventual rusting.
When your car conks out during the quarantine, it can be very frustrating because it’s your only mode of transportation during an emergency or when you need to buy essential supplies. Not to mention that it’s difficult to find a nearby mechanic nowadays.
Of course, you can avoid getting to a point when you feel helpless. During the COVID-19 pandemic, learning how to take care of your car should also be among your priorities. You don’t want to be paying for hefty repair bills after the lockdown, do you?
Venus is the Head of Content at Moneymax, with over 15 years of combined experience in digital marketing, corporate communications, PR, and journalism. She invests in stocks, mutual funds, VUL, and Pag-IBIG MP2. Outside of work, she’s crazy about cats and Korean dramas. Follow Venus on LinkedIn.