During this difficult period, it’s best to adjust your maintenance process of maintaining your vehicle. Here are a few suggestions to keep your car in its best condition during the lock down.
Maintaining the battery
The life of a battery relies highly on how old the object is, but it also depends on how far the car is driven and how often. Even when the vehicle is parked, the battery gets drained by the on-board computer and the alarm systems. So, it’s good to keep the battery full.
For proper maintenance, a short run of approximately 15 minutes per week would be ideal but not required. You can make a maintenance drive during a necessary shopping run or during another essential activity where the automobile is required. The weekly drive will help to properly charge the battery and also keep the car engine in optimal condition.
More tasks you can do regularly are:
- Get the engine started once per week;
- Get the engine warmed up;
- Start the air conditioner as well as all features that use the battery to verify if everything works properly;
- Verify the board indicator for the battery to see any hint indicating that it might require attention;
- Before any drive, check the handbrake and brakes;
- After putting the car in gear, drive slowly and pay attention to possible jolts or strange noises.
Batteries of hybrid and electric cars have a different charging process than batteries in diesel and petrol cars. It is optimal to keep the battery of an electric car charged between 50%-80% to ensure a higher lifespan. The performance of the battery can be severely damaged long-term if the battery drops below 30%.
The electric battery of PHEV/Hybrid vehicles should be put into saving mode if the car is not driven. This action is meant to protect the vehicle’s battery. However, you should check for specific information in the owner’s manual.
PHEV owners should acknowledge that in times of quarantine, public chargers can be used solely by key workers.
Maintaining the tires
Your tires could get damaged by not driving your vehicle during this time. If the car is not moved at all for weeks at a time, its tires can deflate and the constant pressure can lead to the development of cracks. In order to prevent these issues, you can:
- Move the vehicle a little every other day in order to shift the pressure on the tires;
- If your home has a driveway, move the vehicle every day to ensure the rolling of the tires in order to maintain their shape.
Check the pressure of the tires regularly. The recommended bar figure/PSI can be found on the inside of the front doors or in the car’s manual.
The fuel tank
Because you won’t be driving your vehicle regularly, you should keep enough fuel in your tank for emergencies. This is important as to avoid getting stuck in the middle of the road with an empty fuel tank during the lock down.
When the tank is not full, the air above the fluid can condense and cause rusting inside it due to the stored moisture. You will have to check and clean your tank when the quarantine ends, if it’s not filled up.
Considering your vehicle will not be driven regularly in the foreseeable future, you will have to park it somewhere safe from weather elements and from other dangers. The best place would be a private garage, as vandals and thieves would be discouraged to act on an enclosed environment, and your paintwork will also be protected from outdoor threats and adverse weather. Verify that the garage has proper ventilation and that your vehicle is dry. Since garages are off the main roads and they’re a safe environment; you can save your handbrake cable from unnecessary stretching by leaving the car in gear.
If you don’t have a garage in your area, choose a parking space that can ensure shade during sunny days and proper lighting during night time. While trees do protect cars from some weather phenomena, they leave them vulnerable to tree sap and bird droppings, which will require cleaning later on.
Scrubbing the vehicle before having it stored help keep its appearance and it could even prevent damage along the way. Waxing your vehicle may stop bird droppings, harsh weather and tree sap leaving marks on the paintwork, but the vehicle should undergo a thorough cleaning before getting the coat applied.
Cleaning the tires will ensure that mud, grease, and brake shavings get removed, which in time prevents corrosion.
Nowadays, cleaning the car’s interior is of higher importance than ever before. If the interior is dirty, it could attract vermin and insects leading to extra damage caused by the unwanted tenants.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.