So, you’ve decided to leave your car behind and do your 21-day lockdown in another province, here’s what you need to know about how your car will be affected and how to better take care of it
With COVID-19 disrupting social, health and economic systems across the globe, in South Africa we’ve all been forced to remain quarantined in our homes for a period of 21 days where possible. This means your car may not see much tar and will remain in one spot for the duration of the period. Much-like everything else when left unattended for an extended period, things may not function properly when you do eventually give your vehicle attention.
The lockdown period is currently set at 21 days, however, the state of social inactivity may be extended if the situation deteriorates and we’re overwhelmed by the virus. With that said, it’s important to know how to maintain that four-wheeled asset parked outside and ensure it’s stored properly and in good health once all of this is over.
Understanding how the inner parts of your car works is important so that you’re better able to take care of it. The engine which is mainly made up of metal components which come into contact with one another, requires lubrication to ensure fluid movement and avoid corrosive wear and tear. This is where engine oil is a vital.
With a standing vehicle, it’s important to start and allow the engine to idle for at least 10 minutes once a week. This will not only ensure the good health of the engine but will also be beneficial for your battery. When vehicles are not driven for an extended period, batteries tend to discharge slowly and the last thing you need is a vehicle that won’t start when you need it to. All it takes to mitigate this undesirable situation, which happens all too often mind you, is running that motor for at least 10 minutes.
Alternatively, a trickle charger plugged into a wall socket will keep that battery cell in peak shape. If you’re able to take the vehicle for a drive every so often, this would be even more beneficial to its overall health.
In the event your vehicle is guaranteed to remain stationary for an extended period, because you’ve travelled to a different city for the lockdown, leaving it with anything less than a full tank of fuel is less than ideal. Firstly, because there’s no better feeling in the world than finding the fuel gauge needle in your car leaning firmly over “F” after being separated for a while. Also, because topping up this important vessel prevents it from rusting internally from condensation.
This one may seem like a no brainer, but cleaning up the interior and removing that banana peel and half eaten burger from under the seat, will leave your car fresh and ensure there aren’t any foul odours the day you have to carpool back to work with your colleagues.
Your tyres are an integral part of getting to your destination safely, so taking care of them will serve you well. While you’re at the petrol station filling up, do a quick inspection of all four rubbers and see that they are all inflated with the correct pressure. The recommended pressure for your car is normally found behind the fuel cap, on the driver’s door panel or in your owner’s manual. Tyres left standing for an extended period while under inflated can develop cracked sidewalls, which is not ideal for your safety and pocket.
Of course. there are those who may have inadvertently not seen to any of the above measures during the pre-lockdown chaos, leaving their cars behind. No worries, 21 days should do no causes irreversible harm to your chariot. When you return, make sure you do a thorough check of tyres and essential fluids (engine oil, coolant and power steering fluid) before swinging back into your daily routine. It may also be a good idea to run the engine and allow to idle for a few minutes before embarking on that initial drive. Remember, metal requires thorough lubrication to function properly.