With billions of people stuck at home, it’s not the time to think about cars. However, we can’t let you believe they require no attention while they’re left parked for weeks.
Cars are not designed for staying put but with global lockdowns against the pandemic, car owners were left with no choice.
And a car that won’t start or a huge repair bill will be an awful surprise when you’re ready to get back to what many call the new normal.
Here at AI Parts, we want to make auto maintenance smarter.
With predictive auto maintenance, you can expect the safest, most efficient vehicle every time. But to help you out in the meantime, we’ve come up with a list of six simple steps to help you keep your car OK while it’s not in use.
1. Clean up your interiors. Make sure you leave nothing damp (wet umbrellas, gym clothes, dirty shoes) inside that can become petri dishes for moulds or bacteria. Check if you have any food left inside your car. Aside from moulds, stale food and foul odours can attract critters. You wouldn’t want to be welcomed by roaches or mice next time you get in your car. These unwanted visitors can chew through important (and expensive!) electronics, too.
2. Park in a covered area. This protects your car from the elements including the harsh sun and rain. If you don’t have a garage, consider a car cover. A good car cover offers protection from particles and the sun BUT make sure your car is clean before you cover it. Dust, sand, and small rocks stuck between the cover and your car can rub nasty scratches on your car.
TOP TIP: Never park under the wrong tree. Tree sap can be very damaging to your paint job, just like bird poop (or bird bombs). While a tree can provide some shade, these chemicals from nature will do serious damage to car paint.
3. Keep a full tank if you can. More fuel means less moisture in the gas tank. Filled tanks are more resistant to rusting or corrosion. With gas prices dropping, this should be easier to do and a car with a full tank always offers some additional peace of mind.
4. Don’t engage the handbrake. It’s better to use the “P” or park mode on your car for extended periods. The handbrake forces contact between surfaces that can lead to sticking through time. Old-school bricks against your tires is a more sustainable way of making sure your ride stays put.
5. Be generous with tire pressure. Inflate tires to the maximum possible pressure (check manufacturer guidelines). You will also need to move the car now and then. When one section of the tire bears the entire weight of the vehicle for days, this can cause “flat spots”. A bad flat spot means you’ll have to replace your tires. Oof!
6. Try to run your engine for at least 15 mins once every two days. This little trick will keep your battery charged. To prevent a dead battery, ensure all lights are shut off (including the tiny one in the glove box). If you have a second car that’s not getting used, you can detach the battery terminals.
These small things will be greatly appreciated by your car. If you follow the list, once you can go back to your daily commute, you’ll be without any hitch. For now, make sure you check on your car and limit unnecessary trips.