The good news is that with people not driving as much due to stay-at-home orders, they are spending way less money on gas, and when they do have to go to the pump, prices have plummeted to lows not seen in years.
But there is a bad side to cars sitting in the garage or driveways all the time: Damage can actually be done to your vehicle even when it is not being driven.
There are tow truck companies and automobile repair shops still open in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, should there be any issues that arise, but it’s still better to avoid scenarios in which your idle car ends up needing repairs.
Here are five tips to avoid problems that can come up with sitting vehicles:
Make sure to run your car every once in a while.
This is likely happening with people still going out to grocery stores or other essential businesses, even if sequestered at home.
But just in case a car isn’t being used or a two-car household has turned into a one-car household where the other vehicle is just sitting idle, running the car is still vital.
Simply running it for 5-10 minutes once or twice a week makes sure that the battery is being charged and other aspects of the car are running properly.
Double check to see that gas isn’t going bad.
Gas does degrade over time, and in some cases, it will go bad in less than two months if a car remains idle.
In addition to running the car, treating it with fuel stabilizer can extend the life of your car’s gas. If the gas already is bad, there are ways to remove the bad gas from the tank, according to itstillruns.com. You can either remove the tank itself if you know how to perform such a complicated task, siphon the bad gas out with a hose or add dry gasoline and high-octane gas to the tank.
If that’s over your head, you might want to call a shop.
Don’t let the brakes rust.
Rust can form on the rotors of brakes, especially if a car is left outside in the elements for too long. Simply taking a brief drive once a week helps greatly in minimizing the buildup of rust. If there already is noticeable rust, apply brake cleaners found at stores or purchased online to help remove it.
Check on your tire pressure.
Cars that sit for a while not only lose tire pressure, but can develop flat spots in those tires. Adding extra pounds of air before letting the car sit for a while is a good practice to ensure tires have proper tire pressure and don’t get flat spots.
Don’t forget about oil changes.
If you’re able to find a place that will do oil changes, then don’t delay. Oil can deteriorate if the car is not being driven frequently.