Social distancing and working from home have reduced traffic to next to nothing, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about taking care of your car. Automobiles sitting in garages for weeks can develop problems. Here’s how to maintain your car during COVID-19 stay-at-home time.
The best way to keep your car in good shape is to drive it, even if you have nowhere to go. Take a solo drive that lasts 20 minutes or more at least once every two weeks. Driving the car will circulate all the fluids to keep parts lubricated and prevent fuel from stagnating or deteriorating.
Remember, however, that during the COVID-19 crisis, emergency rooms and first responders are already overwhelmed caring for coronavirus patients. Response times may be delayed and hospital beds scarce for accident victims, so drive with extreme caution. You’re just out there to help keep your battery charged, your brakes in order, and your gas tank reasonably clean. When the car is back on a level surface in the garage, don’t engage the parking brake. Left on for an extended period, the parking brake can cause fusing in the brake rotors.
The weight of an unmoving car settles onto the part of the tire in contact with the driveway or garage floor. This can cause “flat-spotting,” where one part of the rubber tire flattens out. Check your inside doorframe for the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure and keep tires inflated to that recommended level.
If you don’t have your own pump, check with your local service station to see if their air is working and available. Remember to keep the minimum six feet of distance from anyone else pulling up. Follow all the other recommendations about how to protect yourself if you must go out. Wear a fabric face-covering while out of the car and gloves while using the air hose. Don’t touch your face. When you get back home, disinfect everything you touched immediately (steering wheel, gearshift, radio buttons, turn signal, door handles on the car and house, keys, etc.), and wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
An undriven car is a haven for rodents, and a car full of fast-food crumbs and wrappers attracts insects as well. Give your car a thorough vacuuming, and if you have the garden hose and the social distancing space, pick a nice day to remove and hose off the rubber floor mats, leaving them to dry in the sun before you reinstall them.
Road residue and salt leftover from winter driving will harm your paint and could cause rust and corrosion on the undercarriage. Clean the wheels first, so you won’t splash debris from the tires, brakes, and wheel-wells up onto the body paint you just finished washing. Whether you’re cleaning Jetta rims or custom chrome wheels, clean wheels are longer-lasting wheels.
These are just a few tips for maintaining your car during COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. The Wheelership is here to supply replacement wheels for many makes and models should you need them, and while deliveries may be delayed, we’re still shipping. Check our COVID-19 information page regularly for updates, and keep safe.