How to maintain your car during lockdown?
Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a considerable toll around the world. And with a second wave of the virus in Mauritius, the government has begun imposing red zones in regions where there are many infected cases. During these unprecedented times of pandemic lockdown, most of us are now working from home where possible. Our cars may be sitting idle in the garage and getting much less use. To ensure our vehicles remain safe and secure, we should keep certain important things in mind.
Below are a list of things to consider to take care of our vehicles during the prolonged lockdown:
? Battery maintenance
The battery usually gets depleted when the vehicle is not in use. To prevent it from discharging, start the vehicle for at least 10-15 minutes once a week. This will allow the battery to maintain charge during extended periods where it is not driven. If the vehicle is likely to remain idle for a long period of time, the best option is to disconnect the battery from the negative terminal to prevent discharge.
? Electric vehicles
Electric and Hybrid vehicles have 12-volt batteries. They charge differently. Pressing the start button till the ready light comes on will operate the charging system. You should do this once a week for around 10 mins to keep the 12-volt battery topped up. Some electric and plug-in vehicles can maintain their 12-volt batteries if they are plugged in to the main charger. You need to check your vehicle handbook for more model-specific information.
? Keep the vehicle running
In particular, cars are machines and they perform best when they are operating. So, start your vehicle and do not forget to operate all the systems including the air conditioner. This will not only help to keep the vehicle in a good conditions but it will also allow you to diagnose any faults and niggles before hitting the road. If the situation permits, take your vehicle for a short round in your vicinity. Otherwise, move the car forwards and backwards so that it does not remain stationary for too long. This will help prevent flat spots on the tyres.
? Avoid engaging the handbrake
A car’s brakes can seize up if they remain engaged for too long with the handbrake being especially prone to it. Moving the car forwards and backwards so that it does not remain stationary for too long will prevent the handbrakes from wearing out. Also, if you are keeping your car in a private secure flat surface area, it is a good idea to turn the handbrake off to prevent any unnecessary tension on the brakes.
? Keep the car under wraps
If you do not have an appropriate sheltered parking space at your residence, ensure that your car is not constantly exposed to direct sunlight, as it can affect the overall quality of the paint. If you can, park your car in a covered area to protect against bad weather and sun damage. Keep your car washed and clean and use a protective wax to protect the paintwork from these elements. And if you have a cover, use it.
? Keep your car clean inside
Once a week, we have to make sure the car is aired out. Take a portable vacuum cleaner and clean out the edges of the car seats as any food residue can decay the seat couch and cause the locked interiors to smell bad.
? Keep your tank full
Keeping your car filled with petrol will prevent damage such as rust. If a tank is empty, it can cause moisture and lead to rust over time. We do not recommend you to go out just to fill up the tank but keeping your tank full is the best way to look after it.
? Change the engine oil
Engine oil has protective additives like corrosion inhibitors which are essential in keeping a car’s engine in good condition. Most in-built oil change indicators base the intervals on the distance covered by the car. In the event of a prolonged lockdown, it is best to change it after 90 days so as to retain the potency of the oil’s protective components.
? Use your time to conduct other vehicle checks
If you have got a specific issue with your car and you do not know how to deal with it, then mechanical workshops are normally open and can carry out the essential repairs. We recommend you to check your lights, windscreen and tyres for any cracks, scuffs and bumps. In this way, you will know your car better and will eventually be aware of any issues cropping up.