The coronavirus lockdown has led to far less driving. While this is easier on the pocketbook, it isn’t necessarily easier on your vehicle unless you take certain precautions.
Follow these tips to keep your vehicle in great shape, even when it’s sitting most of the time.
Check for Critters
You’d be surprised how quickly animals can decide to take up residence under your vehicle. The ventilation system is a great place for a squirrel to hide, or a bird may decide to nest in the undercarriage. Give your vehicle a quick once over before you decide to drive.
Your vehicle needs to run so fluids can circulate which lubricate parts and keep things running smoothly. Take your vehicle out for a drive at least once every two weeks or else parts can seize which will lead to expensive repairs. Leaving your vehicle sitting in one spot for too long can also lead to permanent flat spots on the tires.
You’ll also need to drive your car to charge the battery, which discharges over time. Take it for a run on the highway or around the block a few times if that’s all you can manage.
Top Up Gas
Gas is very cheap now, so fill the tank. A full tank prevents condensation and gas fume accumulation. It also provides you with peace of mind since you have fuel whenever you might decide to drive.
Prevent moisture from wicking up to your vehicle’s undercarriage which can cause rust. Instead, park on pavement or gravel.
Be very careful if you decide to park under a tree. Many trees lose branches easily in the wind, some drip sap, and others are bird magnets. Bird poop is highly-corrosive, sap is very difficult to remove, and falling branches can wreak havoc on your vehicle.
You may want to consider a car cover to protect your vehicle from the elements, providing your vehicle’s sparkling clean and preferably waxed. Otherwise the cover can abrade surfaces.
If at all possible, don’t use the parking brake as the rotor and brake pads can stick together when a vehicle sits for a long time.
Alter Oil Change Schedule
If you are clocking less than 600 miles per month, you’re now a low mileage driver. Normally, a regular oil change should occur every 3,000 miles, or even less if you’re using synthetic oil which may last between 5,000 and 7,500 miles.
Since you’re driving less, you won’t need to change the oil as often, but you still need to perform maintenance. Check the dipstick regularly to ensure the oil hasn’t changed color and top up if necessary.
When You Can’t Drive Now
If you can’t drive the vehicle, consider a trickle charger. You attach it the battery terminals and then plug it into a regular 110V outlet. It keeps the battery charged, which can be very important for sports cars that drain batteries quickly.
When you do decide to drive again, check the tire pressure, oil and coolant levels, and battery and ease into driving again.
Don’t Forget Insurance
If you’re driving less due to the coronavirus you may qualify for a premium discount. Check with your insurance agent. You could also consider switching your insurance to a pay-as-you-go model which may cost your considerably less. Your agent can recommend the best ways to maintain protection and save money.