Pandemic living means cars, sitting unused for months at a time in your driveway, on the street, or in your garage. That’s because many of us have lost our jobs, are now working from home, or are just trying to stay home and stay safe. Meantime, however, our vehicles are aging. And as long as our cars stay parked, they risk batteries losing charge, tires developing flat spots, rubber components like wipers and belts losing the moisture that keeps them running smoothly, and various animals looking for shelter in the body of your car.
Check the Tires and Watch Out for Critters
What does all this mean? When you do get behind the wheel, don’t just start up your car. Check your tires to make sure they are fully inflated. That will keep the tires from developing flat spots. And watch out for little critters: pop the hood to check if anyone’s been chewing on wires or belts. Take a look in your engine compartment, and inspect the wheel well at the top of your tires, another popular hiding spot for varmints.
Drive Once Weekly
Of course, your car should never sit idle in the first place. Even if you’re reluctant to go out, it’s important to keep your car in good shape. So get in there and drive that car at least once weekly, for around 20 minutes or so. That will help keep the battery charged.
Vacuum Rugs, Remove Food/Litter
Also, when cars are left to sit, they can develop an unpleasant smell. Make sure you haven’t left any food or garbage lying around, and vacuum the carpet. That should take care of that problem.
Leave the Parking Brake Off
Finally, you don’t want to use the parking brake when your car is parked on a flat surface, for months at a time. The brake rotors may become rusty, and the brake pads may then bind with them, posing a serious danger. You can leave the parking brake on for a few weeks. But if you know your car will be parked long term, leave the parking brake off.