At the time this article is going up, much of the United States is under stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That means many of us have cut down drastically on our commutes and other day-to-day travel. Inevitably, some vehicles are getting very little use (and, in some cases, none at all). While this is nice from a gas expenditure standpoint, it’s important to give under-used vehicles some attention during the quarantine period.
Here’s how you can protect your car from damage if you’re not driving it frequently:
1. Get it out on the road at least once a week.
Running your car’s engine periodically will allow fluids to flow properly, prevent rust from forming, and keep the battery from draining. If your car sits for a long time without being turned on, there are all sorts of issues that can keep it from starting up properly. Taking your car for a 15-minute drive every few days should keep it operating smoothly. If you have multiple vehicles, you might want to rotate which ones you take out on grocery runs and other essential activities.
2. Protect tires from “flat-spotting.”
When a car is parked in one spot for an extended period of time, tires can become “flat-spotted” (meaning they flatten in the area where they meet the ground). Driving the car periodically will help to prevent this, but you should also check to make sure your tires are properly inflated.
3. Give the car’s interior a good cleaning.
“Out of sight, out of mind” is a situation to be wary of when it comes to the interior of your car. We’ve all had the experience of forgetting to take out our trash and coming back to a terrible smell. Now is a good time to do a thorough trash disposal, vacuum, and wipe-down. This helps prevent unpleasant smells, but it also reduces the risk of insects, rodents, and other critters making a home in your car and causing it damage. When you’re done, don’t forget to make sure the windows are rolled up completely.
4. Check the oil level and color.
Oil deterioration will continue regardless of whether you’re driving your car every day. Every so often, check the dipstick to make sure the oil is still a golden color — not black. Don’t forget to check the level, too, and refill if needed.
5. Keep the exterior protected.
Give your car a good wash and wax, and keep it in the garage if it’s an option. If not, you might consider investing in a car cover to protect it from the elements. At the very least, you’ll want to pay attention to where you keep it parked; keep it away from trees that drop sap or other sticky residue, as this can cause permanent damage.
The best way to protect your vehicle is with the right insurance. If you’d like to explore options for a policy that better fits your needs, get a quote today!