January 16, 2021

sit

Has your car been sitting in the garage, on the street, or in the parking lot for the last eight months?

5 car maintenance tips for the COVID-19 pandemic

UP NEXT

UP NEXT

Time to take it out for a ride. 

Loading...

Load Error

The pandemic has forced millions of Americans to work from home, while many have lost their jobs and still others are trying to stay safe by not hitting the road.

Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

But our vehicles are still aging all the same.

“A car parked for extended periods risks the battery losing charge, tires gaining flat spots, rubber components such as belts and wipers drying out, and critters taking residence in your engine compartment,” according to Consumer Reports.

The bottom line: Don’t assume your ride will be raring to go when you decide to hit the road again.

Is the car owner’s manual history?: 2021 Ford F-150 ditches traditional paper copy

Consumer Reports: These are the 10 most and least reliable 2021 cars, trucks and SUVs

Here are six key car-maintenance tips during COVID-19:

1. Take a Sunday drive

Consumer Reports recommends driving your vehicle at least once a week for 20 minutes or more to keep the battery charged. 

“Over time, your car’s battery can discharge and leave you needing to jump-start your car,” car-research site Edmunds reports. “You can plug your vehicle into a battery tender if you have one. Or if you know your car will be sitting for a long time, you can always disconnect the battery.”

Other vehicle components could also wear out if you don’t use them.

“If you park outside, this will also provide a chance to wear the rust off the brake discs and keep the calipers from seizing by using them,” the magazine says. “Driving is a good solo activity, and frankly, many people probably need to shake off some cabin fever.”

2. Clean the inside of your car

Don’t be surprised if your car starts to smell after months of sitting there all alone. That’s because food, snacks, drinks or used wipes that were forgotten could start to stink.

Vacuuming the carpet is a good idea.

“These steps can reduce the risks of mildew and unpleasant odors from developing,” Consumer Reports says.

3. Check your tires

When your tires are cold for extended periods of time, they can become deflated. Check their inflation to make sure they’re adequately pressurized.

“The biggest concern with tires is flat-spotting, which is when the weight of the vehicle sitting on one spot flattens out a portion of the rubber on the tire,” according to Edmunds. “A month of being stationary might be enough to cause problems. Low tire pressure and very cold weather can both contribute to the development of flat spots.”

Edmunds recommends “starting by checking your tire pressure and inflating them to factory specification. You can find manufacturer recommendations for tire pressures either on the placard

…...