Oh, My Corona! Don’t Neglect Your Vehicle While Staying at Home
Preventive Maintenance and Regular Auto Repairs Still Need to Be Done
Let’s face it, with the coronavirus and stay-at-home orders most of us are putting fewer miles on our vehicles. In some cases, a LOT fewer miles.
That is one way that we can save money, for sure. But not driving your car at all is NOT a good idea.
Why It Is Important to Drive Your Car Regularly
Maybe you aren’t driving to work or doing as many errands and outings with the family. That doesn’t mean that you should hang up the car keys entirely and forgo preventive maintenance and actually, you know, DRIVING the car. In fact, leaving your car parked in the garage or in the driveway for weeks can end up costing you money in the long run.
Batteries: Often people leave their cars parked only to find that when they do want (or NEED) to use the vehicle, the battery is ‘deader than a doornail’. That is because the battery is recharged by driving. At least that is true for traditional engines and even hybrids.
Tires: Have you ever gone to get on a bicycle after it has been in the garage for a while and found that the tires were low, or even flat? The same thing can happen with your car—you just won’t notice it as much unless you are regularly checking your tire pressure. Keeping your tires properly inflated gives you a more comfortable ride, the most even wear on your tires, and provides better gas mileage.
The mechanics, hoses, belts, etc: Your car is designed to be driven, not just looked at. There are components that need regular lubrication, which is achieved when the car is driven. But driving around the block doesn’t count! Give her at least a 10 minute run, and if you can get up to highway speeds that really helps prevent a lot of problems.
Air Conditioning: I know it hasn’t been hot enough to use the car air conditioning yet, but while you are out driving, turn it on for a few minutes so you know all the systems are working properly.
Noises, Smells, Smoke: Driving your car is one of the best ways to diagnose problems. When we don’t drive a vehicle, we don’t know (or remember) what is “normal” for that car. Hmm, was that squeak always there? Have I been overlooking that because I got used to it? Is there a funny smell when I start the car, or does it emit smoke? These are all signs that one of our automotive technicians should look under the hood.
Preventative Maintenance Must Continue
“But Earl, I don’t need to do any preventive maintenance–my car is just sitting in the garage.” Sounds reasonable, I know. But there are still important things that should be checked. Unless of course you are going to completely drain the car of all fluids and put her up on blocks. But that seems a bit excessive.
Safety checks are important. Look, we all know that things happen. Even when a car is not being driven. Sometimes it is restarting a car after it has been sitting for a while that problems are noticeable. And sometimes there are critters who decide to invade your car create havoc. Always keep up checking things like belts and hoses. The last thing you need to happen is for something to come loose, stranding you at home or along the road, right as the stay-at-home orders are lifted!
Oil still needs to be changed. The recommendations can vary from one vehicle to the next and also depending on whether you are using regular oil or synthetic. But if your car’s preventive maintenance schedule says to change the oil every 3,000 miles or 3 months, it doesn’t mean one or the other. They are telling you to change at whichever of those two numbers comes first!
Bottom Line: Enjoy a little drive in your properly maintained vehicle.
We always recommend that our customers follow through with their cars and trucks’ scheduled preventive maintenance. That advice still holds true today, and it is true that routine tune-ups will prolong the life of your vehicle. This can save you lots of money “down the road” literally and figuratively.
(Although, if you are looking for an excuse to buy a new car just ignore what I said.)
Keep your car’s preventive maintenance on schedule. Be sure have the oil changed and tires rotated regularly. Make an appointment and our auto mechanics will do a safety check and perform any other service your vehicle needs.
And just because we are told to “stay at home” doesn’t mean we can’t take the wheels out for a little spin! Hmmm, maybe, just maybe, the coronavirus will help us remember how much FUN driving can be when it isn’t just used to get from point A to point B over and over again!