If there’s one sure-fire way to kill a car, it’s neglect. They like to be driven and used, but if you’re self-isolating that’s easier said than done. Taking some time to do some of these things could save you a costly repair bill or worse.
One thing that is worth keeping in mind is that it may be difficult to get spare parts for anything that needs replacing at this time. If you plan to go to a mechanic it may be worth calling them in advance to save yourself the journey.
The best possible way to store your car is indoors. This can be either a garage or a multi-storey. There are firms out there who specialise in car storage and some may even take care of the greasy stuff for you. Failing that, a good car cover will do well to protect your paint and your tyres. If you’re parked on the street you may want to keep an eye on your brakes. Puddles can form and cause the brake disc to rust. A car that’s moving will slosh that water away, but one that’s sitting won’t.
Before you begin, it may be worth getting both the oil and filter changed. You can buy additives for both the oil and fuel to prevent internal damage in the engine. It may also be worth topping up the tank, leaving little room for condensation to contaminate the fuel.
Remember that tyres will degrade even when not in use. A combination of the weight of the car and the sun’s rays will ensure that even a car not being driven will have signs of wear on the tyres. Ideally, you would replace all four with an old set, keeping your current tyres in storage. But who among us will really do that? When you need your car again, leave a little time to check the condition of all four tyres. Look for signs of cracks and be sure to inspect the tread. It may also be worth investing in a pressure gauge just to be on the safe side.
The next most important part is the battery. If you can get a battery tender or trickle charger to keep the battery topped up little by little. You may think about going down to start it every couple of days. If so, be sure to keep it running for at least half an hour and rev the engine bit by bit. For environmental reasons however, some councils don’t allow idling on certain streets. Ideally, your best bet is to go for an extended drive, but that may not always be an option.
Some experts suggest not leaving your handbrake on the whole time. According to What Car?, “leaving your handbrake on for an extended period of time may cause the brakes to fuse, particularly in cold or wet weather.” The magazine recommends using a wheel chock, or at a pinch, a piece of wood, to keep it from rolling away. If you aren’t using the car for over three months, consider jack stands or blocks to raise it off the ground. This will also reduce wear on the tyres by taking the weight off them.
Hopefully, doing all of this will ensure that when you need your car, especially in an emergency, it won’t let you down. Take care of it and it will take care of you.