Motoring

Maintaining your car during the lockdown

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The COVID-19 virus has everyone house-bound, and that means your car is too. While they will be fine over these three weeks, here are a few things that you can do to make sure they stay in better shape during the lockdown.

Before you read any further, remember social distancing overrules everything else. Your car will not reduce itself to junk over 21 days. Your safety comes first, and so attend to your car only if you can do so in a safe manner without exposing yourself to others.

Preserve the battery

The electrical systems in modern cars are very reliable, and if you have not faced any electrical trouble, like for example slow cranking, you can easily leave your car parked for a few days without worry. Starting it once a week and leaving it running for a few minutes will be more than sufficient to keep your battery charged. If your car starts easily, let it run for a few minutes; or if you can, just drive it around the compound and then shut it down. However, if you face any starting trouble, then once started, leave it switched on for a longer period of time (up to 15 minutes even) and rev the engine, now and then. As mentioned earlier, if you can, drive it around the compound too, and start it again in two-three days.

Give it a workout

Unlike us, our cars can sit around for a few days and not worry about physical fitness; however, it is a mechanical device and so it’s a good idea to run all its systems, now and then. During the 21-day lockdown, driving it twice or thrice will be good enough, even if it’s around the parking lot. And remember to use the AC too. Using your car will keep all the mechanical parts and other systems running, thus preventing some of them from getting jammed or tight, for instance, the brakes. If your tyres are correctly inflated and in good shape, there is little chance of them flat spotting (or, as is commonly said, going out of round). However, moving your car a few times during these 21 days can help keep them in better shape.

Do not use the parking brake

Avoid using the handbrake and leave your car in gear; or in an automatic, leave the selector in ‘park’. This is because over a few days, left engaged, the brake mechanism tends to get stuck. If your car’s brakes are stuck, driving it around a little and dabbing the brake pedal can help free them. In some cars, the parking brake uses the wheel brakes itself, however, in others, they use a separate brake. In this case, if you still feel like the parking brake is stuck, try engaging and releasing the hand brake lever rapidly and drive it around a little.

Leave it clean

Pretty common sense this one, do not leave junk like water bottles, food items and even stuff like wet wipes in the car. Over time, these will degrade and could release foul smells, especially if your car is parked out in the sun.

Protect the exterior

If you don’t have a covered parking area, try and find a shaded spot to park your car; or, if possible, use a car cover. If you can’t do any of this, do not fret, your car’s exterior will certainly survive this; but try and give it a wash if you see too much dirt accumulating. If you see bird droppings, wipe these away with a damp cloth, as bird droppings left sfor long can stain or ruin certain surfaces.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 4:14:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/motoring/maintaining-your-car-during-the-lockdown/article31280830.ece

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