Car maintenance during lockdown
After months of navigating lockdowns and changes to the way we live and work, many of us are dreaming of the day when we can feel the freedom of shifting up into fifth gear on the highway! But while some look wistfully out upon their cars idly gathering dust and grime on empty streets, others may be relying on their vehicles now more than ever as they travel to essential employment that helps keep our community safe and functioning. We’ve pulled together a few car maintenance tips for idle and working vehicles alike.
Car maintenance tips
Whether your car has been sitting idle on the street or in your garage for some time, or is a vital part of your daily life delivering parcels, commuting to a healthcare facility or working in a trade, now is a great time to start running through a few simple maintenance items on a regular basis. This will keep your car in good working condition, and alert you to any repair issues before you find yourself on the side of the road.
Does oil go bad sitting in an engine?
We’re often asked this question! Each car is different so the best thing to do is to check your owner’s manual for detailed instructions on oil levels. Remember to check the oil when the engine is cool, and be sure to park on a flat surface!
How long does an unused car battery last?
That depends on several factors, but it’s good practice to start your engine and take your vehicle for a short drive every now and again, provided it is safe and essential to do so. We recommend making sure your car gets a short drive every three to four weeks. If you do not have any essential travel to conduct (e.g. to pick up food or medical supplies), you may like to idle the engine for five minutes – if you do decide to do this, please be mindful of the dangers of exhaust fumes in enclosed spaces. It’s much safer to idle an engine in open space. Here’s some tips we pulled together recently on battery health.
What else should I be checking?
The engine oil and battery are probably the first things that come to mind when you think of car maintenance. But there are other important components you should also be checking:
- Windscreen wipers – fill the washer reservoir and keep your wiper blades clear of debris while your vehicle remains idle.
- Coolant – check your owner’s manual for specific advice about how to check your coolant level. Most vehicles will have a transparent coolant reservoir so you can check the level without touching the cap, but we still recommend you do this when the engine is cool.
- Lights – check that your head, parking, indicator, brake, reversing and number plate lights are in good working order. The safest way to do so is with two people, with appropriate social distancing measures: one to operate the lights, the other to observe.
- Tyres – walk around your vehicle and check for any obvious signs of wear and tear or low pressure.
- Exteriors – keeping your car clean and free of debris is an easy protection measure for ensuring the long-term condition of your vehicle, and regularly washing by hand is a great way of getting outside for some fresh air, provided you do so within current health guidelines. Protecting your car if it’s parked outside in the elements is all the more important – here’s some tips on car paint protection and repairs to get you started.
Servicing and mechanical repairs
Check your logbook and ensure your oil change and regular service schedule is up to date, particularly if you are relying on your vehicle for essential and permitted work. If you’re unsure if you need to bring your vehicle in or want to check on something you’ve noticed in your regular car maintenance checks, give us a call – we’re here to help. Our contactless service option and temporary no-contact pick-up and drop-off procedure changes provide you with a safe option to keep your car up to date with its regular servicing schedule or any mechanical repairs. For customers who wish to take advantage of our contactless services, we can collect your car from your home or workplace free of charge. Our staff will practice rigorous hygiene, including wearing gloves at all times, while your car is in our care. We will clean, disinfect and return your vehicle to your home or workplace and arrange for payment via direct deposit or phone to avoid any unnecessary contact. Customers who still wish to drop-off and pick-up their own vehicle will be taken through our temporary no-contact procedures to ensure social distancing measures are carefully adhered to, and your vehicle will be cleaned and disinfected before pick-up. Complimentary loan vehicles are still available if you need to stay on the road for essential travel – these are also being cleaned and disinfected between use for the safety of our staff, customers and the community. Call the workshop today on 03 9071 0146 to talk through the safest and most convenient option for you – we’ll take care of you and your vehicle.