The global health crisis created by COVID-19 has altered the way people live. If you head out of your home to get some fresh air, you will instantly notice how there are fewer cars and people on the streets. That’s because one of the best ways to control the spread of the disease is to limit outdoor mobility and avoid crowded places.
In support of this preventative method, many public spaces where people can congregate are closed or have restrictions in place. A lot of workplaces are also operating with lower on-site capacity. Therefore, public transport vehicles and most people’s cars are just parked and not being used.
Rest for automobiles is good — but not for a very long time. Various issues can arise with vehicle non-use. Thus, it’s important to implement appropriate car care during this lockdown.
But, what do you need to do to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape while it’s not being used often, if at all?
Here are ten vital car care tips to follow for every car owner.
- Air out your vehicle
Do this every couple of days, especially if the car has a lot of leather components in its interior. If you don’t air out your vehicle, mould will grow, and not only is this disgusting to see, but it also wouldn’t make your car safe to drive. Airing out your vehicle is a reliable way to prevent moisture from getting trapped and mould from forming and proliferating.
However, make sure you do this in your garage or building as exposing your vehicle out in the blistering desert sun would be ill-advised.
- Wash your car
Refresh the vehicle by giving it a deep cleaning treatment, especially if you have not done so in a long while. The best option is still to have a professional car care cleaning service, but if that’s not possible at the moment, learn the routine online.
Vacuum the interior, wash the upholstery and rugs, get rid of clutter, give the exterior body a bath to get rid of dust buildup and debris, and apply wax to protect the paint especially if you don’t have a garage to keep the car away from the light and blazing heat of the sun.
This is not a pointless effort, even if you don’t use the car often. You can prevent little insects from turning your vehicle into their home. Your car wouldn’t smell too musty either, and it will only need a bit of dusting once the lockdown ends.
- Refill the fuel tank
The inside of the fuel tank can quickly develop rust if there’s not enough fuel in it, especially if the car’s not being used frequently. To avoid this problem, fill it with high-quality petrol. You can have some delivered to your house through an on-demand petrol service.
The petrol will keep the inside of the tank moist, which will inhibit corrosion. Make sure to prevent petrol from evaporating by screwing the cap tightly.
- Warm up the car once a week
If you don’t get to drive your car anywhere at all, start it or turn on the engine once a week to warm it up. It’s essential to get the oils circulating to preserve the brakes and to keep the differentials and gearbox in excellent working condition.
When you start the car, turn on the air conditioning. The ventilation will get rid of the musty odour. It will also keep the sealing material from drying up.
- Refill the screen wash tank
The water in the screen wash tank can also evaporate over time, and now that the weather in the MENA region is getting so much hotter, fluid levels will dip much faster. So, refill the screen wash tank to the brim with fresh water mixed with a bit of detergent.
- Remove the spark plugs
If you only start the engine once a week and do not drive the car at all, remove the spark plugs after every use. And when you need to start the car, spray a bit of oil (some mechanics recommend petroleum jelly) into the plug sockets to prevent rust build-up inside the cylinder head.
- Attach the battery to a trickle charger
This is a must for cars that will be idle for some time. What the trickle charger will do is it will slowly charge the battery while also preventing the normal depletion of charge when the car is not running.
- Coat the inside of the engine with an engine cleaner
The engine is prone to oxidation when the weather’s hot, and it doesn’t get used frequently. It is best to use an engine cleaner, to prevent corrosion on the insides of the engine and help get rid of any debris, dirt or gunk that has accumulated over time.
- Inflate your tyres and jack them up
Make sure that all four tyres are inflated to the right pressure. If you don’t know the ideal pressure for your tyres, check your car manual or the sticker on the doorsill.
After inflating the tyres, jack them up. Car service centres say that tyres that do not get used for a long time can develop flat spots, which can make driving a bit unstable. You can use four jacks or blocks of wood for the job.
- Cover the car
It’s best to park the car indoors to prevent it from pretty much turning into an oven during hot days. Also, parking indoors will keep your vehicle clean for longer.
If you do not have a covered garage, invest in a car cover or an automatic car parasol that can stretch over a sedan or SUV like a tent.
Nobody knows how long the recommended mobility restriction will be and when it will be safe to go about life like before. Therefore, while waiting, safekeeping and care should be carried out for valuable things.
If you want your car to always be in excellent condition, use the car care tips shared above.
Antonio Al Asmar
Antonio is currently the General Manager at CAFU. Passionate about innovation, technology and entrepreneurship, Antonio is responsible for identifying growth opportunities for the company, overseeing budgets and coordinating business operations.
Prior to joining CAFU, where he has been since the company’s inception in 2018, Antonio had been working as a Senior Engagement Manager at Delta Partners in Dubai where his work focused on supporting clients in emerging markets across the Telecoms, Media and Digital sector and as a Program Manager at SETSintl in Beirut, where he was involved in major development projects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In addition, Antonio has worked in junior roles for Value Partners Management Consultancy and A.T. Kearney.
Antonio holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and a master’s degree in Management Engineering both from the American University of Beirut.