As San Diego County continues its shelter in place order for Covid-19, the majority of our daily driving routines have changed considerably. While many may suspect that when a vehicle isn’t being regularly used, maintenance isn’t as important. This is not the case, and now more than ever a reliable vehicle is needed. Vehicles are meant to be driven regularly and when they’re not certain problems can arise. The longer the car sits, the more likely it is for problems to occur. The experts at Metro Transmission and Automotive have compiled a list of 5 Tips For Car Maintenance During Covid-19 to keep your car in shape while the pandemic continues.
5 Easy Ways to Maintain Your Vehicle During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Anytime you plan on storing a vehicle it’s always best to keep the tank as full as possible. When a vehicle sits idle for extended periods, condensation can build up in the tank. The build-up of moisture will eventually wear down your seals by drying them out. According to Edmonds, “You should also purchase a fuel stabilizer such as Sta-bil, to prevent ethanol buildup and protect the engine from gum, varnish and rust. The fuel stabilizer will prevent the gas from deteriorating for up to 12 months.”
Proper air levels in all four tires is an important aspect of maintaining your vehicle during an extended storage period. If one or more of your tires are underinflated “flat spots” can occur causing permanent damage to your tire. If the vehicle hasn’t sat for too long, a short drive can usually bring the tire temperature up and remove any flat spots. In more extreme cases the flat spot can permanently damage the tire and will need to be replaced. If you’re mechanically inclined, a possible option to preserve your tires is using jack stands to keep the tires from completely pressing into the ground. This process is a bit more labor-intensive but can definitely save you a set of tires in the long run.
When a vehicle sits without being started or driven, a different type of wear and tear takes place. Old fluids can become contaminated when they are not properly circulated through the components of your engine and transmission. If you’re unable to have the fluids changed by an auto repair shop, it’s a good idea to make sure your fluids are at least topped off. Rust and corrosion are far more likely to happen if your oils and coolants are not filled while your vehicle is not being regularly driven or warmed up.
When a car sits for a long period without starting, there’s no way for the battery to charge. We recommend starting your vehicle every few days and letting it run for 15 minutes or take it for a short drive. This not only charges your battery, but it will also allow your vehicle to circulate fluids and ensure your eternal components are lubricated. If for some reason you’re unable to start or drive your vehicle during the stay at home order, there are two additional steps you can take to prevent your battery from dying. The first option is to unhook the battery cable from the negative terminal. This requires minimal effort and can be done with a single wrench. The other option is to use a trickle charger to maintain a consistent charge on your battery.
While using your parking brake is usually a good driving habit to have, while storing your vehicle it is actually something you should avoid. When the brake pads make constant contact with the rotors without moving, they can become fused together. Parking on flat ground and using a tire stop can completely prevent the need for using the parking brake.
The amount of time you spend driving your vehicle will be the ultimate determining factor on how many additional preventative maintenance steps you should take. In most cases, driving for a few minutes a couple times per week will eliminate the need for any additional care. If you’ve been considered an essential employee and still drive your car the same amount, we’re here for you! Don’t put off necessary maintenance. We’re relying on our vehicles now more than ever, and we’ve implemented a strict sanitation process with each vehicle we service. We’re open Monday through Friday from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and offer pickup and drop off services.
If you have any questions on our maintenance tips or would like to schedule a service, give us a call today.