Don’t quarantine your car for too long while staying at home
You probably have left your house at some point in the last two months, but if you've been working entirely from home and have gotten food and meals mostly delivered instead of going out for pickup, your car may be feeling neglected.
It's not your car's feelings that are being hurt, though — it's the car's overall health, according to Joe Erickson, AAA Approved Auto Repair territory manager for New Jersey and Delaware.
How do you keep your vehicle in good condition when you can't go anywhere and aren't driving regularly?
"The best suggestions are run your car, if you can run your car daily, drive it, not just run it, but drive your car daily," Erickson said. "There's an awful lot when it comes to car maintenance but I think just driving the vehicle to maintain the battery capacity or the battery charge."
Because of the number of advanced computers in newer vehicles these days, Erickson said there is a "natural draw" on your battery even when your vehicle is sitting still and turned off. He said AAA got 30% more calls for battery issues last month as compared to April 2019, likely due to decreased driving volume.
But just turning the ignition isn't enough, as New Jersey has a law on the books against idling which could cost you $250 for a first offense.
With warmer weather coming, Erickson said you should take the opportunity to take a ride somewhere. Top off your tank while you're at it, too.
"Keep your fuel tank as full as possible, and it's not a difficult time to do that with fuel prices dropping," he said, advising that a full fuel tank allows for less condensation to build up in the inner workings of your car.
Erickson said now is also the best time to take your ride into the shop and have any scheduled maintenance performed that you might have been putting off.
"A lot of the credit card companies have waived the signature requirement, so they're doing touchless payments. The shops are also disinfecting the insides of the car while they have it," he said.
Finally, Erickson suggests checking your fluids on a weekly basis, and making sure your tire pressure levels are normal.
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