As a result of the pandemic, many consumers have changed their driving habits. Many people are still working from home, and it appears that some may continue to work a hybrid remote-office schedule, commuting to work on some days, and working from home on other days, which translates to less miles driven.
We are finding that these driving habits may cause a number of mechanical issues which can lead to expensive repairs. In this blog, I will outline a few key tips and information on how to best care for your car. In addition, I will list the potential consequences from driving fewer miles.
Potential Consequences from driving fewer miles:
- Fuel – The fuel in your tank can go stale which can lead to fuel system component failures, hard starting, stalling and other engine performance problems.
- Battery – Even though your engine is shut off, there is still a slight drain on your battery from the electrical system. Over time, this can lead to a dead battery. Car batteries also deteriorate internally when they sit for a long period of time, which will shorten its life.
- Tires – When your car sits in one spot too long, the weight of the vehicle will cause flat spots to develop on your tires. Also, tires that are still for long periods of time and not in motion tend to dry rot.
- Cabin filters – Cars that sit make perfect habitats for little critters. These critters usually enter through the heater vents and build a nest in the heater/air conditioner cabin filter.
- Wiper blades – When not in use, wiper blades can dry out, rot and stick to the windshield.
- Brake components – Unused vehicles are prone to rust buildup on brake components and seized brake hardware, which can severely impair braking ability.
- Engine oil – When cars sit for a long period of time, sludge can develop in the oil. This will affect the oil’s ability to lubricate the engine, which can lead to internal engine damage.
What I recommend for the proper care of your automobile!
- Drive your car at least once a week for a minimum of 30 minutes each time.
- Call or visit your automotive service professional and talk to them about how to properly care for your car.
- Operate your windshield washer fluid and wiper blades at least every other week.
- Have the oil changed every six months, regardless of the mileage, and make sure that your repair shop performs a complete bumper to bumper vehicle inspection at each visit.
- Use a quality oil additive for the engine, a fuel treatment for the fuel system and a fuel stabilizer in the fuel tank if your car sits for long periods of time.
- Have your car inspected for rust and other metal corrosion.
- Keep your car’s exterior and interior clean.
- Make sure your tires are carefully inspected for flat spots and dry rot. Also, check tire pressure at least once a month.
- If your car sits for long periods of time, consider a small battery tender. This device will keep your battery fully charged and ready to go when you need your car.
With proper care, your vehicle will last well over 200,000 miles, with years of worry-free driving!
Joe Marconi, owner Osceola Garage