We all know that car care is the last thing on most people's minds right now. A lot of people aren't driving their vehicles due to Stay At Home or other social distancing orders. So the question is: Should I put off my car maintenance?
According to industry experts, you may be doing more damage than good. Letting your car sit idle can cause many problems. Rich White, executive director at the non-profit Car Care Council says, "Just as it is recommended that people stay active during this time of social distancing, your car should get some activity as well. If your vehicle sits too long, the battery could die, the tires can develop flat spots and the engine oil may start to deteriorate."
White recommends to take short solo drives once a week and doing other car care to help keep your vehicle running efficiently and safely. If your vehicle is going to sit for a long period of time, you should monitor the following areas of your vehicle.
BATTERY- Today's vehicles have many computer systems that draw power even when the vehicle is not running. Your battery could die within a couple of weeks of sitting idle. You can connect a trickle charger to help maintain your battery life while your vehicle sits idle.
TIRES- Tires can lose pressure over time, so checking your tire pressure regularly is always a good habit. If your vehicle loses pressure and sits for a long period of time, your tires could develop flat spots. Flat spots can make your ride bumpy and cause premature bald spots.
OIL- Your engine oil deteriorates over time. That is why there is a time and mileage recommendation for oil changes. White suggests you change your engine oil at the recommended time interval, even if you are not driving the recommended mileage. Check your owner's manual for the maximum time and mileage that you should wait in between oil changes.
BRAKES- If your vehicle sits idle, rust can develop on the brake rotors, especially if it sits outside. Drive your vehicle once a week to keep your rotors clean.
FUEL- Modern fuel systems help prevent oxidation in the tank and preserve the life of your gas. It is still best to top off your tank to prevent condensation build up. If you are still concerned, you can add a gas stabilizer to your tank.
CLEANING- Wash your vehicle to remove any dirt, grime, dust or pollen build up. Applying a coat of wax can also help protect your paint finish. Cleaning the inside of your vehicle is just as important. We recommend that you wipe down the dashboard, cup holders, steering wheel, vents, door handles and console with an all-purpose automotive cleaner that will help disinfect the inside of your vehicle.
PARKING- Be careful where you park your vehicle. Avoid parking under trees that have sap or a lot of birds that congregate. Getting sap off your paint is never fun, especially if the paint is hot. Bird droppings can be killer on your paint as well. Be sure to remove anything of value from your vehicle to eliminate the possibility of a break in. Vehicles are a prime target for thieves as they know most people are leaving their vehicles unattended for long periods of time. It's best to remove anything in the vehicle that was not there the day you bought it. Sunglasses, spare change, phone chargers, gym bags, backpacks, garage door openers, etc. are all items that attract would-be thieves to your vehicle.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your local Quality Tune Up Car Care Center for help. We're here for you when you need us.