If you are like us and numerous other Singaporeans who have been instructed to huddle at home to quell the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), chances are that your car is sitting idle in a car park or garage. With the prospect of these orders lasting weeks, it’s no surprise your car will go unused for long stretches of time. However, your lack of driving doesn’t have to be a detriment to your precious automobile.
You may be wondering: What should I be doing to maintain it while it’s not being driven? Well, these are a few tips you can practice to help keep your car in good shape even during a pandemic.
Even though you don’t have the luxury to drive anywhere else other than the supermarket, you should still avoid letting your vehicle sit for prolonged periods of time without starting the engine. An engine’s key internal components should always have a thin coating of oil to keep them lubricated and protected; as your vehicle sits, gravity slowly pulls the oil down to the crankcase.
Simply starting your car and allowing it to idle till it reaches operating temperature, or better yet, going for a drive can alleviate that problem. However, we suggest doing so only if your car is located in a car park or garage as opposed to making a special journey just to do it. Oh, and please don’t leave the car while it’s running, so stay with your vehicle at all times.
It is also a good idea to go around and check your car’s tyre pressures prior to storing it away. It means you are starting with a level playing field which should help to elongate the lifetime of each tyre too. To check what pressures you need, either look inside the fuel filler cap door or the vehicle handbook. To top them up either use a compressor (these can be purchased relatively cheaply online) or with a foot pump.
Lastly, before you have stopped using the car, or after starting it once a week, make sure that nothing has been left running in or on the car. Sidelights and the radio are two of the most obvious examples, and ones that can quickly drain the battery. However, look out for auxiliary items too – sat-navs, for instance, can put a drain on the car. The last thing you want is to return to your car in a week’s time to find out that it needs a jumpstart.
Should you have a catastrophic problem with your car that you don’t feel comfortable addressing yourself, fret not, many servicing and maintenance workshops are still open to carry out essential repairs, although they may be staffed by skeleton crews and reduced operating hours. Otherwise, stay home, stay safe and save lives.