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Being a responsible citizen in these trying times means we should all stay home as much as possible. But that doesn't mean you should neglect your car.

Category: Car Maintenance Advice

With the COVID-19 infection counts rising day by day, with no end in sight, many of us are probably transitioning to work from home arrangements in a bid to minimise social interactions. Well, some of you might have even cut down on shopping trips and unnecessary outings as well. Being at home all the time means that your car hardly leaves the carpark these days, if at all. While the petrol savings might be a relief, this doesn't mean that you can just cast all car worries aside.

You see, cars, much like humans, don't really do that well when they stay at a spot for too long. In fact, leave the car long enough, you will even have trouble starting it when you need to use it once again. So, here's how you can keep your car primed and ready to go while you spend your days cooped up at home.

Keep the car's battery charged

Unplug your dash camera before you leave your car to sit!
The battery on your car has an important job. It allows you to start your car at the turn of a key or the press of a button. Even without use, batteries will lose charge over time. Add on the power draw of accessories such as a dash camera, you will likely face difficulty starting your car after letting it sit for awhile.

You should disconnect your car's dash camera if you are not going to be driving for a while. It will also be good to start your car at least once a week and let it idle for 15 to 20 minutes to charge up the battery. Should your car be parked in a location with access to electricity, you can consider getting a battery charger (like what you see in car showrooms) to keep your car's battery charged. You can also consider getting a portable jump starter, which will come in handy should your car's battery still ends up running out of juice.

Ensure tyres are properly inflated

Keeping your car's tyres properly inflated can reduce the probability of flat spots developing on them
When a vehicle is left stationary for an extended period of time, tyres could develop flat spots due to the weight pressing down on them. In severe cases, tyre flat spots can be a permanent issue that will require a replacement to fix.

Tyres lose air pressure over time, regardless if the car has been moving or not. Hence drivers should always check and ensure that their car's tyres are properly inflated. While keeping your car's tyres inflated is important to prevent flat spots, it is also important for safety reasons. You do not want to be driving the car around with underinflated tyres when you eventually take the car out - this can result in a catastrophic tyre failure.

Keep your car protected

Clean your car before you leave it to sit, you wouldn't want to return to a cockroach-infested car!
A little bit of downtime shouldn't result in costly damages to your car,. Thus, you shouldn't leave your car exposed to the elements without care, nor should its interior be littered with trash or food.

Before you hang up the car keys and commit to the stay home movement to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infections, you need to get your car cleaned up. Dirt, grime, tree sap, bird droppings and the likes will damage your car's paintwork if overlooked long enough - it gets even worse if your car is left exposed to the beatings from the sun. You should also wax your car to give it an extra layer of protection as well. If you happen to be the really kiasu type, you can also use a car cover to give that all-round protection.

Of course, don't neglect the interior! Clear out the trash and bits and pieces of food (if you have the habit of eating in your car) before they attract some nasty pests to make a nest in your car!

Take it out for a spin … in the carpark

A short drive, even just a couple rounds in the carpark, would be highly beneficial to your car
Well, we did mention that cars and humans are pretty alike. We all benefit from some movement. By starting the car up and going for a short drive around the carpark, you will be able to give the battery a quick charge, prevent the tyres from getting flat spots, and also prevent all movable components such as the suspension of the cars from getting seized up.

Likewise, a little action will also prevent the seals in the hydraulic systems, such as your brakes and clutch, from drying up and causing troublesome issues such as fluid leaks and seized components. So, start those cars up and go for a 'tour de carpark'!

What to check before driving the car after an extended period of time

Be sure to give the car a proper check before you start driving it again!
Even if you have followed our tips and kept the car in tip-top condition, you should still perform a quick check before taking the car out after a long period without driving it. The first thing to check would be various fluids such as the coolant, engine oil and brake fluid. These are vital to the safe and reliable function of your car, and you should check all the fluid levels before driving your car out for the first time in awhile.

Tyres are the only points of contact that your car has with the road. Before driving your car, you should also check your tyre's condition, watch out for underinflation and substantial cracks, cuts, splits or bruises in the tyre sidewall and tread area.

Be sure to drive lightly and look out for any issues with the car before you decide to drive a little more spiritedly!

Here are some related articles that might interest you 

Neglecting these things in your car will cost you a fortune 

Is it important to service your car on time?

6 reputable car grooming & polishing service providers in Singapore

7 ways to reduce car running costs

Must-know tips for cheaper car maintenance 

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