How to maintain your car when not driving much during Lock-down??

Smartchoice Editorial
April 23, 2020

Summary

The article highlights the risk your vehicle may be at due to being left unused for an extended time period. It also talks about various tips and ways that should be used while leaving the car unattended and idle and at the same time what measures should be put in practice before getting the vehicle back on the roads for usage and the strategic move that should be taken by any vehicle owner which is procuring of car insurance.

The Carrying out of the maintenance of the car is a chore that often goes without saying with owning a vehicle. But looking at the present scenario, where the world has come to standstill, people are trying to limit their mobilization and many organizations are letting their employs to work from home to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
It may seem like that the car that isn’t being used as frequently as before and that may make you a little relaxed of the expenses being cut because of “no/very less usage of the car” and you wouldn’t be requiring upkeep of your vehicle like you did every day.

But….

That isn’t the case cause if you plan to keep your vehicle safely for a month or more, keeping in perspective to keep your car secure you may want to follow and keep an eye on these car maintenance tips

We all know that and it’s happened to many of us and maybe far too many times. For instance, you plan for an extended vacation or travel even out of the city for some reason you leave your car unused for a long or if you are moving and can’t take the car with you immediately, and when you get back it becomes necessary to have the car serviced just to get it to function normally.

It is very much possible to avoid this to a greater extent if you follow the below-mentioned information and take the correct steps. Here are some expert’s tips on how to properly store your cars so that you will not have to spend on services when you want to drive it again.

1. Do not employ the handbrake when you leave

Employing the handbrake over a long period can result in destroying your brake pads getting them stuck to the brake discs or drums. Pointless to say, if this happens to your car brakes, you’ll be in trouble the next time you use the car. An intelligent thing would be to apply wheel chucks, let’s say a piece of wood or even a block, to keep the car from rolling and leave the car in the first gear.

2. Park indoors and use cars cover if need be…

Try and try to make it possible, put your car indoors before you leave your car. The vehicle would be safer and cleaner. If this is not a possibility, invest in a quality cover for your beloved motor vehicle. Make sure that you buy that is specifically designed and made for your car model or type. Also, avoid using the car cover indoors as it will ensure no moisture is left inside and the left moisture will evaporate faster, especially in dry and humid weather conditions.

3. Spur plug care

If you are planning to leave your car idle for a long period because you are practising quarantine and social distancing religiously, it’s very much advisable to remove the spark plugs of the car and spray a little oil into plug sockets before fixing the plugs back to its place. This will help you to avoid the insides of the cylinder-head rusting and keep the moisture away. You can also use petrol additives that provide a protective covering to the insides of your car engine. Of course, you should do this only if you’re comfortable handling the technicalities of the car.

4. Clean the interiors before you park the car

This might be like stating the obvious, but we’re going to tell you anyway. People are usually inhabited to leave the wrappers and other trash in cars which may include things like chocolate or wafer wrappers (with crumbs inside), old newspapers, and water thermoses and so on. All of this could decay and rot or, worse, attract rodents that can lead to loss of floor mats, seat covers and even the car’s engine wiring. So, clean the interior of the vehicle thoroughly also remember to spray a little freshener. But don’t go overboard in using it as if used too much it will stink in the closed confines of the car if it remains unused over a long time.

5. Fill up the fuel tank to the brim

One of the major complications of leaving a car unused and idle for an extended period is the active chance of rusting on the inside of the petrol tank. The best method to avoid this is to fill the car petrol tank up to the brim with quality petrol, by doing this it will keep away the moisture from entering the fuel tank and prevent eroding of the tank. Last but not the least; be sure that the tank is sealed as it should be.

6. Battery maintenance

It is suggested to remove the battery from the vehicle if you’re not going to use the car for a long time. Also, apply petroleum jelly or lubricant on the terminals and the wire ends of the nodes to prevent rusting. Make sure that the battery is fully charged before you pack-off your car also top up the water/battery acid level. Store the car battery in a cool and dry place which is well away from direct sun rays.

7. Paint job protection

A car’s paint can be damaged and chipped if the vehicle is left outdoor for a long time, even with the cover. What you need to make sure is that the like the interior the exterior is all free from the grime and dust, its completely clean and after making sure that the job’s well done which is that the car is spick and span apply a thin or proper coat of polish and wax, apply this would ensure that your car stays spotless and there is no moisture than can cause pain erosion after which using the car cover will make sense and it would complete protection of your car.

8. Hoist up the car

It has been seen that cars that have been motionless for a long time develop flat spots on tires. To avoid this situation which may lead to expenses like buying new tires for the vehicle using four jacks (or blocks of wood) so that the car wheels does not rest on the floor. One thing that also needs to ensure is that maintenance may differ from car to car, for instance, a sports cars with low contour tires can be easily left without any support for as much as two months without the fear of any damage to the tires.

9. Change oil and filters

“Maintaining the oil and filters is the key to a healthier car engine and smooth drive”
Change of oil and filters will help as used oil contains moisture, metal filings, sludge and other caustic elements. Its best way forward is to put in fresh engine oil and new filters before leaving your car in the garage or at the parking spot. However, one thing that is recommended is that to drive the car for a few kilometres before you store the car reason being that the fresh oil is well circulated in the engine.

10. Keep the tires appropriately inflated

Check the tire pressure and be certain that the pressure in the tires is correct. Suitable inflation of the tire help in prevents cracking of the sidewalls and flat spots. You must check the valves and valve caps for leaks and make sure the valves are a fit.

We have just spoken about the ways we can store our car and that too in a way that does not affect the functionality and efficiency of the car when we re-use it properly after we see the end of COVID-19.

InshAllah….

These things need to be kept in mind and used as tips which would save our money and time both, at the same time, when the pandemic end’s there need to be certain measures taken while making the vehicle ready for use, few things also need to checked and done as pre-requisites.

One thing to think of and remember is to undo all of the storage and putting-away prep you did originally to secure the engine and car mechanics (specifically, the prep involving the battery, steel wool, etc.).

It is recommended to use a simple checklist while you’re prepping the vehicle for storage and leave it pinned somewhere visible, so it’s easy to refer to the list when you’re ready to take out the car, back out onto the road.

Some of the recommended things to remember before getting out on the roads

  1. Check for chewed belts, hosepipes, wires or nests, which can be done by the rodent, while your car I parked.
  2. Remove the steel wool which you may have placed in the exhaust pipe.
  3. Examine and inspect the windshield wipers to see if the rubber is cracked or brittle.
    Check the tire pressure and reflate to the recommended pressure, if the air pressure is low in tires.
  4. Check fluids and add-more as needed.
  5. You need to reconnect the battery and check that the battery terminals are clean.
    Wash the vehicle to freshen and remove any dust or dirt that has accumulated on the car.
  6. Checked that your valves and cylinder walls which might get corroded due to lack of any lubricant or movement inside.
  7. Brakes are an essential thing that has to be checked, this has happened that when not used for a prolonged time the brakes lose their grip.
  8. Some other things that may happen and can happen while you keep your car in storage are that your wheels might get jammed especially if you are residing near a coastal area like Karachi, the negative would be it would be prone to faster erosion.
  9. Electrical glitches also occur Sometimes when you get the car out, sometimes interior electrical be likely to develop a fault such as the power windows get jammed, electric seats being stuck and not being able to move.
  10. Check for Air-Conditioner Gas leak, as happens at home in air-conditioner that when used after a long time we face ineffective cooling from the Air Conditioner and will need to be recharged like gas same practice needs to be remembered/ensured for the car air-conditioner as well.

Since in Pakistan may people use vehicles that are converted to CNG so if your car is converted to this fuel system you need to check if the hoses are fine and have not developed a leakage during the idle period.
We would also advise using petrol if it’s going to be discontinuous usage since the CNG does not lubricate/oil the engine component such as valves as much as petrol being a superior grease; using CNG will not directly cause any serious harm but it’s better to use petrol for a few miles initially and then switch to LPG or CNG.

At the same time, one strategic thing that needs to be done is to purchase car insurance and renew it timely, this insurance would act as continuous cover for your car and this coverage protects your car against multiple known-unknown risks.

For instance, according to you and your judgment, the car is parked at a good and secure spot, but something is stolen like your car side-mirror so instead of it being a burden on your pocket it shall be covered under your car insurance policy terms and conditions applied. So we at Smartchoice.pk recommend that get your car insured, you can compare quotes and coverage by just filling out your details and our car insurance adviser will get in touch to walk you through the process. Just login into www.smartchoice.pk today!

When it comes to your car, a vehicle is designed to be run like a horse metaphorically, you cannot get a horse and make it stand idle all day, you don’t buy a horse just to pet it, they are meant to be ridden and taken for a ride or else they will develop problems (or whatever horses technically become if not ridden).

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