Who would have thought that the whole world will still be fighting against an invisible enemy in this day and time? This notorious COVID19 virus has turned our lives upside down ever since its discovery in Wuhan, China.
For almost two years, working from home has been the new norm. Even students around the world had no choice but to adapt to online education. Businesses have closed down. Even first-world countries suffered from a financial crisis amidst never-ending lockdowns.
Most nations have rolled out vaccines for their citizens, and some have opened up their economies. But it seems that the virus doesn’t plan to vanish anytime soon with the rise of the more infectious and vaccine-resistant Delta variant.
Other countries are back to enforcing lockdowns, and just like that, quarantine season has returned. Vehicles are back to being confined to the corners of the garage.
Like humans, cars might also suffer from a breakdown during prolonged confinement if you don’t do proper maintenance.
What can we do to guarantee that our vehicles still run efficiently even if we are driving them less?
Tip # 1 Drive your car at least once a week
- Car Battery — When a car is unused for a long time, its battery gets discharged. Starting the engine can help charge the battery but driving it a few blocks away from your house is much better. It helps lubricate the vehicle’s engine and moving parts like the brakes and transmission.
- Tires — Tires slowly lose air when a car just sits idly in the garage. Avoid getting flat spots by maintaining a weekly driving schedule. If the tires are unsalvageable, you can opt to buy a new set like Falken tires.
- Brakes — Rust can build up on the car’s brake pads, drums, and rotors when it is unused. Drive it regularly to eliminate the possibility of the emergency brake from getting stuck.
Tip #2 Maintain a regular car maintenance schedule
- Follow your oil change schedule. Engine damage will occur if your vehicle doesn’t have a sufficient supply of clean oil.
- Check other fluids like brake, coolant, power steering, and transmission fluid. Make sure if they are at a sufficient level. Replenish if needed.
- Do a visual check on your engine components. Look at the belts and hoses. They tend to crack and dry out when a vehicle is rarely driven.
- Check the engine air filters. Clean or replace them if necessary.
- Check the wipers for cracks. It can get brittle after months of not being used. Replace if needed.
Tip # 3 Park your car in a covered area if possible
- Avoid leaving your car outdoors if possible. Prolonged exposure to dust and sunlight can damage your car’s paint.
- Use a car cover to protect your vehicle’s exterior if you don’t have a garage or a covered area for parking.
- If you own a truck, install a tonneau cover to shield the truck bed from harmful debris and sun damage.
Tip # 4 Wash your car regularly
- Cars, just like humans, need a regular bath. Wash your car regularly.
- Clean the vehicle’s interior.
- Maintain a pristine paint condition by applying wax and sealant after washing the car.
- The rims also need cleaning to prevent corrosion. Even high-quality wheels like Advan wheels can develop rust if they are left dirty for a long time. It can spread to the inside of the tires, axle hubs, and wheel studs, causing the tires to deflate, leading to possible vehicular accidents.
Tip #5 Fill up the gas tank
- Make sure that your vehicle has a full tank of gasoline. This prevents condensation from accumulating inside your tank and can also eliminate corrosion from forming on the fuel lines and inside the tank.
- You have the option to use a fuel stabilizer to preserve the life of your gasoline.
Once you are free to bring your car to a car shop for minor repairs or scheduled maintenance, what should you do to protect yourself from COVID19?
Tip # 1 Make an appointment
- Some service centers require their customers to make an advance appointment either online or via telephone to limit the number of people inside their establishment.
Tip # 2 Wear a mask
- Medical experts recommend wearing face masks, particularly indoors where poor air ventilation is a concern.
- With the onslaught of more infectious COVID19 variants, even vaccinated individuals who don’t wear masks can still contract the virus once exposed.
- Wear it while talking to the technician.
Tip # 3 Practice social distancing
- Maintain a safe distance between yourself and another person, whether it’s between you and your trusted mechanic or another customer at the service center.
Tip # 4 Sanitize
- Bring hand sanitizer with you while you are outside your home in case your hands get in contact with surfaces.
- Request to have your car sanitized before they release it, in case you cannot do it yourself.
- If you don’t like anyone else to touch your car, you can sanitize it yourself using disinfectant wipes. Wipe frequently touched parts like door handles, transmission gear, steering wheel, dashboard, and seat adjustment levers.
- Sanitize when you get home. Wash your hands thoroughly and change into clean clothes.
Tip # 5 Limit your exposure to the virus
- If you can afford it, have all the repairs or scheduled maintenance done in one appointment. This will limit your exposure to people outside the safety of your home and lessen the risk of you contracting the virus.
The pandemic has been tough for everyone, emotionally, mentally, and financially. Months of lockdown have been depressing. Some have lost their loved ones and livelihoods because of the virus. There are many things to prioritize, and unfortunately, car maintenance is at the bottom of the list. Maintaining a vehicle during these difficult times can be challenging, but keep in mind that owning a car that’s in good, running condition is a necessity.