With COVID-19 keeping many of us at home, our cars haven’t received the same workout they usually would. Many Brisbane drivers have found a shudder in their car on starting or worse, a flat battery from its total non-use. Even if the pandemic hadn’t created the stay at home orders — extended holidays, a prolonged flu, whatever it is, sometimes we’ll give our cars a bit of a break.
It’s essential to make sure you’re still giving it a little love and attention, so when you’re ready to start using it like you used to again, it’s ready to go for you.
Make sure you’re still running your car
Your car will benefit so much from even just turning your car on. Try and get to it at least once a week and start the engine to get the engine’s fluids running through the car. Better than that of course, is actually taking your car for a drive.
Driving your car just around the block is enough to warm it up and keep it going, but if your battery’s getting older, make sure you drive a bit further to keep the battery charging up. It’s ideal if you can do this once a week but at least once a fortnight is amazing if you can commit to it.
Make sure it’s clean, inside & out
Try to make sure you’re cleaning your car often. Clean off any sap, bird droppings, or leaves and flowers off of your car. The sap fallen from trees and the acidic content of the bird droppings will actually burn and stain your car’s paint.
As well as that, take any rubbish out of your car and give it a vacuum for crumbs and little food scraps. You want to ensure you’re not attracting bugs, rodents, or gross smells if you’re planning to leave your car alone for a while.
Pay attention to the tyres
Even if you are taking your car for a weekly or fortnightly drive, make sure you’re checking the tyre pressure when you do. Tyres get flat spots when they sit on the road for prolonged periods.
Particularly if your tyres are older, make sure you’re checking them for cracks, flakes, or deterioration of the tyre’s rubber — sitting cold on the road can wear your tyres terribly.
Make sure your battery is happy
A newer car battery should be able to withstand a bit of a break from driving. If you have a slightly older battery though, make sure on your weekly or fortnightly drives that you’re going for long enough to recharge the battery.
It’s important to remember that car batteries run on kinetic energy — where movement is what charges the battery. This is why newer cars will tell you to turn them off when you’re not in motion. Sitting with your radio, or especially your air conditioner running will drain the battery.
So, if you’re just starting your car to drive around the block, say less than a kilometre, then the battery power your car used to turn itself on is more than it’ll be topped up with on that drive. Be sure to drive far enough or long enough to keep your car’s battery topped up and happy.
We’d recommend covering your car
Especially if you’re parking on a tree-dense street with plenty of leaves, flowers, and the like to drop on your car, try and cover your car up. This will prevent these dirtying your car, causing stains or discolouration, and car covers can also work to prevent theft or break-ins for your car.
As well as that, it can protect your car from the sun. The sun can cause some fading to your car’s paint but it can also cause a lot of heat under the bonnet, which isn’t ideal for your engine or parts. A car cover can do wonders here.
Don’t drop routine car servicing
This is so, so important. Your car service sticker will usually have a date and a number of kilometres, telling you to service at whichever you reach first. Make sure you’re still following this guide.
When you haven’t driven in six months, it can be super tempting to wait for those kilometres to come around before taking your car to your mechanic. Your car’s engine fluids though, will still need replacing. Especially if you’re not driving often, the fluids will become dirty and won’t serve your car the same as some fresh oil and coolant will.