The Covid-19 pandemic has forced a majority of the drivers to stay at home and leave their cars idle. Despite not beign able to drive around, the American Automobile Association is urging drivers to continue maintaining their vehicles to prevent them from breaking down. “While you’re not adding the wear and tear of a daily commute or paying as much for gas, you can’t completely forget about your car while it sits in your driveway,” AAA said in a statement.
If left idle for too long, your car could have some serious problems. The batteries could die, leftover fuel could go stale, and small animals can even wriggle their way inside your car’s mechanisms. Even though it is not advised to cruise around in your car to enjoy the uncongested streets of Manila, there are still ways you can make sure your vehicle is in tip top shape.
Make sure your car is covered
If you’re not going to be around your car a lot, make sure that your car is in a safe place away from any falling debris or even protect your car’s pain from scratches. If you don’t have the option to park your car indoors, use a car cover or a tarp to shield your vehicle away from the elements.
To make sure that little critters don’t go into your car and chew on the wiring, there are natural sprays and deterrents you can use on and around your car to repel rodents. You can use peppermint spray/essential oil, moth balls, or dryer sheets by placing them in various places in the car’s engine bay. You can also place rat traps around the perimeter of the vehicle.
Clean the cabin
This might be a little nitpicky, but clean your car’s interior before leaving it for an extended amount of time. Leftover food like biscuit crumbs or snacks can attract ants or mice, and make your car smell bad. Cleaning the car and spraying the inside with a little freshener before storing it away should do the trick.
Wash your car
If you’re going to leave your car outside, or if you don’t have a car cover, make sure to wash your car’s exterior once every 1-2 weeks just to make sure that the dust, grime, and excess moisture doesn’t damage the paint job. After a thorough wash, applying a coat or two of polish/wax will keep the moisture away from your vehicle.
Keep it running
Taking your car out for a short drive will ensure that all moving parts of the engine are exercised and kept moving. This also helps maintain the life of the battery and keeps all the fluids flowing. If you don’t have the option to drive around, keeping your engine running for about 15 minutes should get everything nice and warmed up.
If you’re not going to be able to use your car for a very long period of time, it is advised that you unplug the spark plugs and spray a little bit of oil into the sockets before plugging them again. This helps protect the interior of the cylinder-head from rust and will keep moisture away. However, if you’re not comfortable in handling the internal workings of your car, it’s best to leave it to the professionals.
Removing the battery from the car will prevent it from dying and rusting. Putting a little petroleum jelly or grease on the battery terminals will prevent rusting, and make sure to store the battery in a cool dry place and away from direct sunlight. Again, if you’re not well versed in dealing with your car’s mechanics, don’t fiddle with it.
Changing the engine oil will also help your idle car last longer as used oil contains moisture, metal filings, and other corrosive materials. Putting a fresh batch of oil in your car’s engine and driving it for a few rounds will ensure that the new oil is circulated inside the engine.
Keep your tires properly inflated
Before leaving your car, make sure that all four tires are properly inflated and that they are at the correct pressure. If your car doesn’t have a tire pressure monitoring system, the correct pressure can usually be found on a small placard on the driver’s side door jamb.