Using your car less than usual at the moment? The effects of Covid-19, like social distancing rules and working from home, mean many of us are spending more time indoors and less at the wheel.
That means now’s the perfect time to do some basic car maintenance checks, as your vehicle needs a little extra attention when you aren’t driving it as much.
Some of these tips you can do yourself with enough experience and know-how. And, for those you can’t, Southern Cross mechanics will be happy to help. They also offer a zero personal interaction service, and will disinfect high use areas of the car once finished.
Rest assured, taking a car to a mechanic does not infringe on the Public Health Order set on 30th March 2020, which states people “must not, without reasonable excuse, leave a persons’ place of residence”. Of course, you should continue to follow social distancing and other prevention measures to keep yourself safe when going out and about. Now, let’s get into these tips.
Check your oil levels
Use the dipstick to check your oil levels (follow the advice in your car manual if you’re unsure how to do this). If it’s lower than what it should be, pour some in to keep it topped up, but be careful not to overfill. With infrequent driving, you only need to do this every few weeks.
If you have the experience, tools and know how, you could change your own oil. However, there are safety concerns and the oil must be recycled properly and responsibly. So, if you need an oil change, it may be best to request an oil change service from a certified and reliable mechanic.
Have a quick drive now and again
If your car is parked for too long, problems can start appearing. Its battery could lose charge, tires may develop flat spots, rubber bits such as belts and windscreen wipers may dry and creatures could start living in your engine… to name a few common issues!
To keep these issues (and more) at bay, try to drive for about half an hour once or twice every week. While you’re in the car, make sure to remove any food, drinks or even disinfectant wipes that are left behind. Over time these may produce mildew and foul stenches start to build up. An added bonus is that driving can also be of comfort and a way to take a short break from being cramped up in the house. Just be sure to follow the latest government guidance on where you can travel and when.
If you’re going to be parked for more than 30 days without driving, avoid using the parking brake. Pads or shoes could seize to the drum or rotor and cause a slew of problems later on. While you’re at it, make sure your brakes are in order, as fully functional brakes could save your life. If you’ve noticed some trouble with them lately, now’s the time to book a car brake repair.
Check your tires
If your tires look uneven or have any signs of damage, measure the tread depth. If there is not as much tread depth as there should be, you could run a lot of risks when driving. You should get that checked out at a reputable mechanic that provides car maintenance in Sydney.
Check the engine
If parked for an extended amount of time, it may be worth getting your engine checked out. Don’t ignore a check engine light that’s been blinking. It could mean many things, for example it may be time to replace ignition coil(s) or oxygen sensors, it could be a loose gas cap or time to replace the fuel injector or thermostat etc. Don’t panic, it could be any number of reasons. But, for safety and peace of mind, it’s highly recommended to get an engine diagnostic from a reliable mechanic while you can still drive there.
With the extra time on your hands, it’s more than worth it to get your car checked out now, rather than later. Ensuring your car is looked after during this time is so important for its longevity. As always, be safe and follow the health guidelines given by the local government.