Checking Up on Your Car During Coronavirus Social Distancing

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Contributing Writer

Bethany Hickey is a graduate from the University of Michigan-Flint, with a bachelor’s in English-Writing. She is a content writer for Auto Credit Express, CarsDirect, and many other automotive blogs, as well as the Poetry Editor for UM-Flint’s writing magazine.

, Contributing Writer - April 22, 2020

Even if you’re not driving your car a lot or at all right now due to the coronavirus, keeping up on its maintenance is important. Once shelter-in-place orders lift, you want to avoid getting into your vehicle for the first time in weeks to find you have flat tires, bad oil, or a dead battery. Here are some car maintenance tips you can utilize to check up on your vehicle.

Check Your Battery

After a few weeks of not driving your car, the battery starts to lose its charge. After a few months, your battery may be completely dead and need a jump in order to start your vehicle.

If you’re not driving your car at all, even for essentials, consider starting it up at least once every week or two and taking a quick trip to recharge your battery. Try to get up to at least 50 mph to give your battery a nice stretch and workout.

Or, you can simply plug your battery in. There are smart battery chargers, also known as trickle chargers, that can maintain your battery’s health while a vehicle is sitting.

If you’re worried about battery corrosion, you can also disconnect it and remove it from your car. Just know that you’re probably going to lose station presets and possibly other information contained in your infotainment system if you disconnect your battery.

Check Your Tires

Check your tire pressure frequently. When a car sits in one spot for a while, the tires can start to develop flat spots. Again, taking a quick drive around the block, or starting your vehicle up and moving it to a different parking spot now and again, can get those tires moving as well as stop the development of flat spots.

Check the Exterior

Consider investing in a car cover to protect your vehicle from the sun’s UV rays, especially if it's parked outside. Consistent sun exposure and temperature fluctuations can mean damage to the exterior, and possibly the interior.

If you have leather seats and your car is parked outside, consider using a leather cleaner and conditioner to keep the seats from cracking and losing their beauty.

Also, make a point to wash your vehicle. Water or animal droppings left to sit on your car’s paint can cause damage. Take a trip through a car wash, or give it a quick wash and dry before you store it in the garage or cover it.

Check Your Oil

Even when you’re not racking up the miles on your car, you still need to check your oil. It can deteriorate due to fluctuating temperatures. Instead of using your mileage to determine when your vehicle needs its next oil change, switch to the time frame that’s recommended in your car’s owner’s manual.

You can also check your vehicle’s other fluids and belts. Starting your car a few times when it’s sitting can also help move oil and fluids through your vehicle’s engine, keeping everything lubricated and healthy.

Check Your Gas Tank

Cars that sit with an empty gas tank can start to develop moisture. This can lead to corrosion and cause all sorts of costly problems down the line. Check your tank and fill it up if you don’t plan on driving it for a while.

Check Under the Hood

Your vehicle can offer a new home – for animals! Your exhaust pipe can be prime real estate for a bird’s or rodent’s nest. Check under the hood to make sure you don’t have any uninvited guests. They can also chew through wires, belts, or hoses, so check those before you start driving your car again.

Additionally, make sure you don’t have any trash or leftover food sitting in your vehicle. This can attract a variety of undesirable critters.

Service Centers and Coronavirus Stay-at-Home Orders

Service centers at dealerships have been deemed an essential business in many states with shelter-in-place orders. If your state has a stay-at-home order in effect due to the COVID-19 epidemic, call your local dealer and ask about their service center. Many have taken steps to thoroughly clean their facilities while maintaining social distancing recommendations to help essential workers who still need regular maintenance on their cars.

Just because you’re not driving your vehicle as much doesn’t mean it doesn’t need a little TLC now and again. On the other hand, if you’re looking to finance your next car, now could be the time to do the research and look for the right dealership and possibly take advantage of falling car prices as a result of the coronavirus.

At CarsDirect, we want to help. On our site, you can browse new and used vehicle listings, as well as check out current deals offered by automakers. And if you’re struggling to find a dealer that can work with a unique credit situation, we can help with that, too.

We’re connected to dealerships across the country that work with bad credit lenders through their special finance departments. To get matched to a local dealer, simply complete our free car loan request form. There’s never an obligation to buy, and our team is still working hard to help borrowers find their next auto loan.

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, Contributing Writer

Bethany Hickey is a graduate from the University of Michigan-Flint, with a bachelor’s in English-Writing. She is a content writer for Auto Credit Express, CarsDirect, and many other automotive blogs, as well as the Poetry Editor for UM-Flint’s writing magazine.

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