Among all of the changes to your lifestyle that you’ve experienced during the COVID-19 outbreak, thinking about the state of your vehicle is likely not the first one that comes to mind. Depending on where you live and your lifestyle choices, you may be starting to contemplate using your vehicle more often. But, since your car sat idle for longer than usual, are there auto service things to consider? The short answer: Yes.
Here’s what you need to look out for if your car has been sitting idle during COVID.
Vehicle Safety During COVID
You know that using your car consistently means that you will have to keep up with certain maintenance standards, simply as a result of wear and tear – but what you might not have known is that there are still auto service needs even when your car sits idle – in fact, these auto service needs relate to inactivity-induced problems, such as:
- Car Battery Depletion
- Degradation of Fuel Quality
- Car Brakes
- Tire Pressure
- Oil Change Considerations
Let’s dive a little deeper into why these areas can be impacted by a lack of activity because of COVID.
Car Battery Depletion
Modern vehicles use a computer to continually assess the state of your car. While this is beneficial in many respects, this does also put a burden on your car battery even when it is sitting idle. A car battery that is not used for as little as two weeks can be severely depleted and in need of a recharge.
Degradation of Fuel Quality
Much like the oil in your car (as we will discuss more below), the fuel in your car begins to deteriorate over time. Luckily, modern cars do offer a more air-tight fuel system which minimizes the amount of fuel oxidation and, therefore, extends fuel life.
That said, each vehicle is different and, especially if you have an older car, your fuel will still begin to degrade if left unused for a while. Fuel’s best efficiency typically lasts from a month and a half to six months.
Another factor to consider is how much gas is in your tank. If you have a full tank, this reduces gas tank condensation which is the primary reason why your fuel deteriorates. If you aren’t sure when you’ll be using your vehicle’s full tank of gas next, we recommend using a fuel stabilizer, which maximizes the life of your fuel for up to two years.
Auto repair and vehicle safety go hand-in-hand when it comes to your car’s brake system. If you leave your vehicle unused for an extended period of time, checking your brakes before you use your car is important. This is because the elements can eventually lead to rust accumulating on your brake rotors, which is especially common on vehicles that are parked outside or in particularly humid places.
Typically, a little bit of surface rust on your brake rotors isn’t a major issue – with consistent use surface rust is removed. Rust does, however, become more of an issue when this rust isn’t quickly worn off, an issue that arises for car owners who aren’t using their vehicle because of COVID.
The best course of action proactively is to take your car for a brief drive to minimize this rust buildup. If your car has been sitting idle for a while now already, we recommend taking it in for a brake system inspection to assess the severity of damage from lack of use.
Oil Change Considerations
Most vehicle owners base their oil change frequency on the number of miles on their odometer, leading many owners to push back their next oil change auto service appointment – but this isn’t necessarily wise.
Just because your car has been sitting idle and hasn’t been racking up the miles doesn’t mean that your oil will perform as it should after a period of time. Besides being on the road, your car’s oil quality can degrade simply from temperature fluctuations, especially if it’s over an extended period of time.
Your best place to begin determining when your next oil change and auto service should happen is to check the user manual of your specific car to see when a manufacturer recommends an oil change regardless of mileage.
Auto Repair and Service During COVID
Vehicle safety is important to consider even when you aren’t consistently using your car because of COVID and its impact on your daily lifestyle. Bring your car in for a complete look-over to ensure that you’re up-to-date on the auto service musts.
Schedule your appointment at one of our three locations today! Contact us online here to book.