Much like an oscillating pendulum, the world is alternating between cycles of lockdowns and lifts; only, in this case, the time period for each is undetermined. A reversal of normal can be seen – while office parking lots wear a deserted look, the parking spaces in housing societies see the opposite effect.
Any average car owner is aware of the fact that storing their vehicle for extended periods is a huge red flag – prolonged periods of idleness can jeopardize the car’s health and performance. However, certain precautionary measures can be taken to avoid vehicle breakdown during the lockdown period. Let us know all about them.
Choosing a safe spot to park your car
A safe parking spot sets the premise for car safety during coronavirus lockdown. An ideal parking spot for your car would be a well-covered spot on an even surface. Parking on a gravel road can throw up pebbles and rocks onto your car and damage its exterior, windshield, side windows, or rear glass. Plus, direct sunlight will gradually scrape off your car’s paint. Also, a shaded spot does not mean under trees whose branches are likely to fall onto your car and leave costly indentations.
Choose a parking spot keeping in mind that your car may need to stand dormant for an extended period. Regardless of whether or not you are able to find a covered spot, keep your vehicle covered at all times with a weather shield encapsulated car cover that offers protection against the most notorious of elements – bird droppings, dust, water, tree sap, and sun rays.
Disconnecting the battery terminals
Your car battery’s terminals, if left as they are, will lead to faster depletion of charge, ultimately damaging the battery. Since you may have to park your car for an extended period, it is best to stay on the safe side by disconnecting your car battery’s negative terminal. However, if you do not intend to do so, you can choose to start your car once a week and keep the engine running for a couple of minutes to maintain battery health. If you opt for the latter, make sure to follow proper safety protocols – use gloves and sanitize your hands properly once you are back home.
Avoiding the use of handbrake for parking
When parking for extended periods, the first thumb of rule is to not rely on a handbrake for parking. This is because, after a few days of standing still, there may be jamming and glitches in the car’s handbrake mechanism. The best way to park your car is to do so in first gear, or you can even place a wedge behind the wheel to prevent the car from rolling backward. In case you find yourself in a situation where the handbrake is already jammed, driving it around a little and pressing on the brake pedal can help unlock.
Clean and sanitize the interiors
This was as relevant before the pandemic crisis as it is after – make sure your car’s interiors are as clean as its exteriors. For this, get rid of all food items, water bottles, wet wipes, etc. as over time, such items will emit a foul odor. Plus, once a week, start your car’s engine and switch on the air-conditioner or humidifier to get rid of any dust or foreign particles. You can even open the windows for some time to allow fresh air inside the cabin. However, make sure to keep your car’s windows closed at all other times while the car is parked during the lockdown.
You can also use a disinfectant to clean your car’s door handles, roof, keys, steering wheel, dashboard, cup holders, windows, AC vents, and gear shift; however, do not use products that contain bleach or hydrogen peroxide as they can damage your car’s interiors. For the seats, you can use a vacuum cleaner, and for the sanitization of the leather parts, you can use a soap-water solution applied using leather-specific wipes.
Check all necessary fluid levels
Just like water keeps the human body up and running, your car also needs proper lubrication. Make sure to check all necessary fluid levels – engine oil, coolant levels, and brake oil – and refill if required. However, remember to not overstock on any of the fluids as even that could be harmful. Keeping your car’s components well-lubricated will extend their life and ensure the smooth functioning of the vehicle during lockdown lifts.
Finally, remember to drive your car slowly, especially during the initial days of the lockdown lifts. Starting up and doing 100 miles per hour out of excitement is a bad idea – it’s like running a marathon immediately after a nap. Gradually easing into it is the key to bringing all other car-care measures to fruition.