If you’re among the millions of Americans who used to be a regular driver but haven’t started up your car engine in days, you may think that you don’t need to keep your vehicle on its maintenance schedule. In fact, it’s more important than ever to make sure your car is getting maintenance during the pandemic.
1. Change your oil
The general advice goes that you should change your oil every 3,000 miles. In fact, the exact frequency depends on your automaker’s advice, as well as your own driving habits.
Since you aren’t putting those miles on your car during the pandemic, you might think that you can postpone oil changes until later. In fact, it’s more important than ever to change your oil.
Changing the oil will help keep the parts in your vehicle lubricated and any additives in the oil fresh, which helps protect the inside of your engine. The oil can also deteriorate while sitting unused, which can cause additional issues when run.
In general, you’ll want to change your oil every six months in a car that isn’t driven regularly.
2. Check your belts and hoses
Your belts and hoses can be easy to forget about, but it’s important to check them when your car hasn’t been driven for a while. These vehicle components naturally degrade over time, but disuse can accelerate this degradation. For example, rubber hoses can dry out and crack when fluids aren’t regularly flowing through them.
If you aren’t comfortable checking your vehicle’s belts or hoses, consider getting your local mechanic to assess the condition of these parts.
3. Check your car battery
Your car battery relies on the engine being run to recharge it. When your car isn’t being driven, the battery doesn’t have the chance to regain any power lost while your car has been sitting idle. A car battery tester can help you quickly identify how much charge your battery currently has, helping you eliminate the chance of getting stranded on the road.
It’s also important to check for corrosion on your battery terminals and remove it, as this can impact your vehicle’s normal startup (or prevent it from starting entirely).
4. Check your tires
Your tires likely won’t need a rotation if your car hasn’t been driven much, but it’s still important to make sure that they are properly inflated since your tires naturally lose air over time. This can impact the tread wear when you do take your vehicle out.
Tires that haven’t been moved for a month or more can develop flat spots due to the constant weight on them. You can easily remedy this by pushing your car slightly forward or back.
Older car tires are also at a higher risk of cracking, flaking, or developing bulges that can lead to a tire blowout. You’ll want to check your tires before you drive to make sure they look normal and healthy.
5. Check under your hood for new residents
A less frequently considered part of car maintenance during the pandemic has to do with ‘new residents’. When your car is sitting idle and unused, it suddenly becomes prime real estate for certain rodents, such as mice and chipmunks. This is especially true for cars that are parked outdoors.
Although it may not seem like a big deal to clean out nut caches or nests, rodents have a tendency to chew, and they can cause a lot of damage to your car if they start gnawing on wires or hoses. They may also use the sound-deadening cloth in your vehicle to build their nests.
You can prevent rodents from causing damage to your car by making it an unappealing home, such as by adding mothballs or peppermint oil to your engine compartment. (Just make sure you take them out before you drive!)
It’s also important to take steps to keep rodents out of your garage, so now is the time to plug any holes you’ve been meaning to get to.
Fast And Easy Car Maintenance During The Pandemic At T3 Atlanta
Whether your car has been sitting unused or you’ve needed to drive regularly throughout the pandemic, it’s important to keep your car in top condition. If you need to get your vehicle inspected for any reason, T3 Atlanta can help. We are dedicated to providing fast and friendly service in the metro Atlanta area. Give us a call and we’ll book you in for an appointment today!