The world is slowly starting to return to a “new normal,” and, for many of us, this means getting back on the road for the first time in a while. Whether you’re going back to work or you’re doing more of your errands in-person, you’ll want to make sure your vehicle is up to par before you start using it again.
Unfortunately, sitting idle for too long can have some negative effects on your vehicle. For example, the gaskets and seals may start to get brittle, the battery can start to drain, and the engine oil begins to deteriorate. The best way to make sure your vehicle is in top shape is to perform some basic maintenance tasks now. The following simple checklist will help you get started.
Check Your Battery
When you drive your car regularly, the battery recharges while it’s running. However, if you go too long between drives or only drive for short periods of time, the battery will start to drain.
It’s a good idea to start your car a minimum of once a week and let it run for at least 10 minutes. If you haven’t been doing this, then you’ll want to test the battery to make sure it’s still good and either recharge or replace it.
Change Your Oil
You might think that you don’t have to change the oil by the date on your sticker because your car hasn’t been used for the past few months — but this isn’t the case. Even if you’re not putting miles on your car, the oil deteriorates, oxidizes, and begins to build up sludge, so make sure you keep up with this important maintenance task.
Check Your Tires
When a car stays in the same place for too long, the part of the tire that’s in contact with the ground can become soft or stiff. In this case, you’ll notice a vibration when you drive that may continue to get worse until you can’t ignore it any longer.
Often, this will go away after about 30 minutes of driving, as this is how long it takes for the rubber to loosen up. However, if it doesn’t get better, then you may need to replace the tires. You can help prevent this by driving your car at least once a week and checking the tire pressure every two weeks.
Top Off Your Fluids
To make sure your vehicle runs its best, you’ll also want to top off your fluids, including:
- Windshield washer fluid
- Brake fluids
- Transmission fluid
- Radiator fluid
- Power steering fluid
- Air conditioning coolant
It’s also a good idea to keep your gas tank at least half full, and, if your car is going to sit for a while, add a gas stabilizer.
Replace Your Cabin Air Filter
While your vehicle has been sitting, there’s a good chance that pollen, dust, leaves, and other grime have built up in your cabin air filter. Make sure you can breathe plenty of clean, fresh air when you hit the road again by replacing your filter with a brand new one.
Follow these simple tips and you’ll be ready to roll when things finally start to open back up!
Professional Car Care
If all of this seems a bit overwhelming, don’t worry! You can always just take your car for a short drive to The Haus and we’ll take care of all your maintenance needs for you. We’re currently open and accepting new customers by appointment only, so contact us today to get started!