When lockdown commenced in March, our cars suddenly stood for weeks in their parking spots, without us following our normal routine of driving them daily to the office, or to drop the kids off at school. Now that South Africa has moved to level 3 of lockdown, we are able to drive our vehicles to the office, or pop out to get groceries, but we are still not driving and utilizing our cars as much as we used to prior Covid-19.
As a result of them standing still for long periods of time, we wanted to share a few tips on how you can look after them during this time to keep them in good shape.
- Start your car regularly
Start your car and drive it at least once a week around the block to charge the battery. Simply starting it and letting it idle for a few minutes is not sufficient to charge the battery when your car is not being used often. When your car stands still for long periods of time the battery loses its charge which results in it struggling to start up, or not being able to start up at all in cases where the battery is old.
- Charge your battery with a trickle charger
In cases where you are not able to drive your car, we recommend that you use a trickle charger. This is a device that plugs into a standard wall socket and attaches to a car battery's terminals to charge them. Always check the OEM recommendations if you are unsure.
- Drive your car to keep moving parts lubricated
Driving your car at least once a week also ensures that all moving parts become lubricated which helps to prevent the engine, seals and other mechanicals from drying out, which may cause damage to your vehicle.
- Fill up with fuel
Fill up your tank to help to prevent moisture / condensation from building up while your car is standing still.
- Check the tyre pressure and fluid levels
If your car is parked in one spot for a long time, the tyres will end up going flat. Therefore, we recommend checking the tyre pressure when you visit the nearest Total Service Station. It’s always better to be prepared for any situation, so also check the tyre pressure of your spare tyre while checking the car, and ensure you have the necessary tools to change a flat tyre if required. While at the Service Station, don’t forget to ask the pump attendant to check your car’s oil and water, and the levels of coolant and brake fluid.
- Maintain the interior
When the engine is running, check the electronic and mechanical controls are still functional, such as the door locks, windows, air conditioner, radio etc.
- Use a car cover for protection
If don’t have a garage or car port to park under, place a car cover over your car to protect it from the elements. This will help protect your paint from the sun, rain and any other corrosive conditions. Also take note of where you choose to park. Avoid parking on surfaces such as grass or dirt as these might cause moisture which can cause rust in your car. Whether you have a car cover / garage or not, apply wax to protect the paint on your car.
- Sanitize your hands and car
Lastly, don’t forget to always sanitize your hands when entering and existing your vehicle. We advise against storing hand sanitizer in your vehicle as most hand sanitizers contain ingredients which are highly flammable and premium hand sanitizers often contain 70% alcohol.