With COVID-19 mask orders and public mandates lifting, it’s finally time for the world to start getting back to normal. As you begin preparing for open travel in and around L.A., it’s important to remember that your BMW might need a bit of TLC. If your vehicle sat unused for a while during quarantine, it’s a great idea to give it some attention and get it back up to speed. Not only will this give you extra peace of mind, but it will also ensure optimal vehicle performance once you start consistently driving again. Before you return to your daily commute or begin planning that much-needed getaway, do yourself a favor and take care of these simple vehicle maintenance tasks.
1. Check Your Battery
Did you know that your vehicle continues to draw energy from your battery, even when it’s turned off? Your car’s clock and CPU both continue running in the background, and any poorly grounded wires can also slowly draw power from your battery.
Since your alternator charges your battery while you drive, if your car has been sitting idle for months, there’s a good chance it might be dead. Before you head out, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to recharge your battery or arrange for a jumpstart. If you find that the battery won’t hold a charge, you may need to bite the bullet and buy a new one.
You’ll also want to inspect the battery’s terminals for corrosion and clean off any you find. Sometimes, corrosion can cause damage to the inside of the battery and reduce its ability to hold a charge. This could leave you stranded down the line, so if you see a lot of corrosion, a battery replacement may be your best bet.
2. Check Your Fluids
When a vehicle has been sitting unused for a while, slow leaks can cause your fluid levels to drop. Make sure you check your antifreeze, power steering, transmission, and wiper fluids to ensure they are all at appropriate levels.
During your inspection, take a look around your vehicle to see if you notice any puddles that could indicate larger leaks. Gaskets that have hardened and cracked from lack of use often lead to these types of problems. BMWs, in particular, are known for having issues with oil pan gaskets, oil filter housing gaskets, and valve cover gaskets.
If you notice a large leak, you may need to have your BMW towed to a repair shop. Depending on the type of leak you’re dealing with, operating the vehicle could cause serious damage. Be sure to call your mechanic for a recommendation before attempting to drive your BMW to the shop.
3. Inflate and Inspect Your Tires
If your vehicle has been sitting for a while, it’s important to check the air pressure in your tires and inflate them if necessary. Slow leaks are very common, and low tire pressure can cause unsafe driving conditions.
You’ll also want to examine the tires to look for signs of damage. When tires sit idle, the rubber can start to deteriorate, causing small cracks. This will eventually lead to warping or flat spots that could eventually cause a blowout. If the damage is severe, you’ll need to replace your tires before you can safely drive your vehicle.
4. Change Your Oil
If your vehicle is due for an oil change, you won’t want to skip it just because you haven’t been driving it. In fact, since they aren’t producing heat from normal operations, vehicles that aren’t used for long periods of time are particularly vulnerable to developing moisture inside the engine. This makes it even more important to stick to your recommended oil change schedule.
5. Clean & Disinfect
Even if you haven’t used your vehicle in a while, bacteria and germs may still be present from past use. There’s also a chance that the interior of your vehicle could have a moldy or musty smell. Take care of this by giving it a thorough cleaning and wiping all high-touch areas down with disinfectant wipes.
6. Get a Professional Vehicle Safety Inspection
While these quick checks will help you spot any obvious issues, there could be a lot more going on inside your BMW. For example, after a vehicle sits for a few months, the gaskets and seals can become brittle, engine oil could deteriorate, and you could start to see rust in your cooling system.
Before you hit the road again, it’s a great idea to bring your BMW to a certified mechanic for a full safety inspection. This is the best way to detect any additional problems and ensure that they’re fixed properly right away.
The expert auto technicians at The Haus will inspect your BMW and ensure it’s maintained to factory specifications. We’ll provide you with expert BMW services, without the inflated dealership prices. Contact us today to schedule your VIP appointment!