Tips For Car Maintenance During Covid-19.

Updated: Jul 10, 2020

Recommendations for COVID 19 Car Care While Sheltering in Place With businesses closed, employees furloughed, and people working from home, many workers have forgone the daily commute. Even though miles aren't racking up on the odometer, a car still needs attention and care. Preventative car care reduces the aging effects of weather and dormancy. Car maintenance is essential for a car rarely driven. Choose a Parking Spot Wisely Sheltering from the Sun Parking spaces in a garage, a covered parking area, or a shady spot are the best choices. During the summer, especially July, temperatures in the Tracy area reach above 90 degrees. Shaded or indoor parking areas protect the car's paint and interior from the sun's damaging rays. UV radiation from the sun will erode paint over time and can also damage the interior.

Protecting the Paint Park away from industrial areas and train tracks to avoid iron fallout. Iron fallout is the shards of metal produced when metal rubs against metal. These small hot particles actually penetrate a car's topcoat of paint. Iron fallout occurs in manufacturing processes and every time a train brakes. Even though they provide shade, avoid parking under trees that drip sap, or provide shelter to birds. Bird droppings, sap, and tar will destroy car paint. So will debris caught in the wind. Oddly, mustard and silly string top the list of substances highly damaging to auto paint. Also, prop up the windshield wipers, so they don't stick to the glass.

Avoiding Interior Damage Placing a sun shield in the front window will reduce the deterioration of the steering wheel and upholstery. Prolonged exposure to UV rays causes leather to fade and crack. Long term sun exposure will also damage the nylon webbing used in seat belts. Other upholstery may also fade and deteriorate when the car is left sitting in a sunny spot. Valuables and flammable items should not be left in the car. Music CDs will start to deteriorate in high heat and direct sunlight. Any items that could melt or catch on fire, such as hand sanitizer, should be removed from the vehicle. Hand sanitizer is a large part of many people's COVID 19 car care routine. People use it to wipe down steering wheels, seat belts, interior door handles, radio knobs, and gear controls. Hand sanitizer is highly flammable, especially if it contains isopropanol (rubbing alcohol) or ethyl alcohol. Hand sanitizer is great for disinfecting the car interior as long as it is not stored in the car. . Preserving the Tires, Undercarriage, and Braking System A parking space on the pavement is best, and gravel is also an okay choice. A dirt or grass surface allows ground moisture to reach the underneath of the car, which leads to rust. When parked for long periods, flat spots may form on the tires due to the weight of the car. Taking the car for a drive will ensure the portion of the tire touching the parking pavement changes. Some experts recommend adding extra pressure to the tires. Unless needed, the parking brake should not be engaged while storing the car. The use of the parking brake could cause the brake pads to rust, or the parking brake could freeze. In older cars, extended use may also cause the brake shoes to distort the drums. Drivers of cars with manual transmissions should leave the car in first gear or reverse and secure the tires with wheel chocks. Run Periodically to Maintain Engine Health The energy in an automotive battery slowly drains away. Drivers need to use cars at least once every two weeks to charge the battery. When a car is operating, the battery receives power from the alternator, charging it. Highway driving is best because higher motor RPMs charge the battery faster. Trickle chargers will slowly charge a battery and plug into a standard electrical outlet. Before connecting the charger, check the positive and negative terminals. If terminals are dirty or corroded, clean with an old toothbrush and a solution of baking soda and water. Using a charger is recommended for high-end sports cars, but only charges the battery, and won't provide the other benefits of actually driving the automobile. Driving the car also lubricates car parts, keeping them in working order. It prevents gaskets from drying out, and fluids from separating. Keep Clean to Prevent Paint Erosion Tree sap, bird droppings, dust, grime, and other environmental substances may erode exterior paint. Automotive paint not only provides cosmetic aesthetics but protects the body from rust. Most car manufacturers construct car bodies from sheet metal. Some people store their car in a cover, there are many types of car covers, including fabrics designed for sunny locations, or luxury car covers designed for indoor garage use only.

Check Tire Pressure and Fluid Levels to Prevent On-Road Mishaps Before taking the car on the road, step on the brake pedal a few times to make sure it feels firm. Also, check tire pressure and fluid levels. A car relies on many types of fluids.

Fluids Checklist

  • brake fluid

  • engine coolant

  • motor oil

  • power steering fluid

  • transmission fluid

  • wiper fluid

Use caution when refilling the fluids. They may harm the car's paint, especially brake fluid. The car's door sticker will report the recommended psi for the tires. Otherwise, fill to 30-35 psi. If the battery dies, jumper cables may be used to jump-start the car. The jumper cables should be grounded, and the cables need to be attached correctly to avoid damaging the cars, especially the newer model cars. Develop a good car maintenance schedule now, and some of it may become a post-lockdown habit. Cars respond to care by providing reliable transportation. A well-maintained automobile will take its owner far. Some preventative car care now will keep an automobile ready for cruising the Central Valley later.

Are you looking to get your car repaired or looked at by a professional? Contact California AutoBody today!