Saturday, December 4

5 Tips for Taking Care of Your Car When You’re Not Driving Regularly

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Cars are made to be out and about on the roads, not standing idle in your garage. Of course, during South Africa’s nationwide lockdown, many people have barely been driving their cars. But, don’t been fooled into thinking that driving less is better for your car. When a vehicle stands idle for any length of time vital engine components can seize up, seals and cables can dry out, and flat spots can develop in the tyres due to the weight of the car. Luckily, there are a few basic things you can do yourself at home to maintain a vehicle you’re not driving frequently. Here are 5 tips for taking care of your car when you’re not driving it regularly.

1. Fill up on fuel

car

You might be going nowhere slowly, but just because you’re not hitting the road regularly doesn’t mean you should leave your fuel tank empty. It may seem counterintuitive but filling up the fuel tank prior to a long idle period will save you a lot of hassle in the long run. A full tank of fuel will help to inhibit the formation of rust and corrosion inside the fuel tank, which in turn, prevents rust from getting into the fuel lines, clogging up the filters and lowering the fuel pressure. Plus, with a full tank, you’ll be ready to go on a moments notice when you eventually have to hit the road again.

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2. Keep the battery going

Car Battery

When a car isn’t being driven very often (or at all), the first thing to go is usually the battery. Your car’s battery needs to be charged on a regular basis and the only way to do that is to drive. The power-pack that keeps the engine running and the electrical components in the vehicle in good working order can drain quite quickly, especially in cold weather. If you’re not driving your car very often, you can preserve the battery by connecting it to a trickle charger while it is still in the vehicle. If the vehicle is going to be standing idle for a long period of time, you can also disconnect and remove the battery, and reinstall it when you’re ready to hit the road again.

Also read: Buying Guide: Where to Buy Car Batteries in SA

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3. Disengage the handbrake

car

It’s best to avoid leaving your car’s handbrake engaged for a prolonged period of time. If your handbrake is engaged for a very long period, this can cause the brake pads and discs to fuse, and the brake system to seize altogether. Before leaving your car to stand for a long period of time, park the car on a flat surface before leaving it in gear. Place bricks by the tyres to ensure the car doesn’t budge.

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4. Clean your car beforehand

car cover

It may seem silly to wash a car that is being left to stand for a long period of time, but it’s essential to leave your car clean to help preserve the body. A good wash, wax and polish will help to protect the exterior of the car and reduce corrosion. Applying a protective wax layer to the vehicle will help to protect against bird droppings, moisture, dust and grime which can permanently damage the paint. If you’re unable to park the vehicle in a garage or undercover, make sure you find a suitable parking spot for the vehicle that will help keep it protected from unnecessary damage. Avoid parking under a tree for any length of time as twigs, leaves and birds will deposit a mess on your car. Similarly, try to avoid parking on grass and other soft, permeable surfaces as corrosion-forming moisture can form on the undercarriage.

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5. Take it for a spin

man driving car

If you’re at home and find you’re just not driving your car very often, then make sure you assign time to take your car out for a spin every few days. Starting the engine and driving the car, even if it’s only around the block, is the best way to prevent potential problems associated with a stationary vehicle. Taking your car for a spin on a weekly basis will help to keep the parts well-lubricated and operational, prevent the tyres from forming flat spots, and ensure the battery is fully charged. While you’re driving, don’t forget to give the air-conditioning system a blast. This will help to maintain the integrity of the seals and tubing in the unit as well as prevent mould and mildew developing in the air-circulation system.

Find the best prices on car maintenance essentials online with PriceCheck now:

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