4 Tips To Keep Your Car Healthy and Mobile During Self-Isolation!

🚗YOUR CAR, MINIVAN, SUV OR TRUCK MAY BE LONELY!!! During the pandemic many people will be driving very little, if at all, so it will be important to keep your car healthy and happy during its own self-isolation. Listed below, are some the things to consider as well as suggestions to help you and your family prevent vehicle issues during this down time.

1. Battery Maintenance

BATTERY – It is completely normal for a vehicle battery to go dead or at least get very weak after not being driven for more than a week or two. Today’s cars have many on-board computers that keep memory for everything from internal computer clocks, radio favourites, and memory seating positions to being ready at a moment’s notice for the click of the unlock button on your key fob. These computers will eventually drain the battery and your car may end up not starting when you need it the most. To keep the battery from going dead altogether, you should plan a 20 minute drive at least once a week. This will allow the alternator time to fully recharge the battery. If you have to boost your battery, be sure to keep positive booster cable to positive and negative to negative or bad things could happen to your car or the car you are boosting from! After it’s boosted and running, be sure you don’t turn it off until it’s been driven for at least 20 minutes or you may need to boost it again. If you have trouble starting it at all and don’t feel comfortable boosting it yourself or you need to boost it again and again, give one of our Car Medics locations a call and we’ll either talk you through it or make you an appointment to have us test your battery and charging system.

2. Winter Tire Change

WINTER TIRES – The time to have your winter tires taken off is now approaching. However, don’t get too concerned, especially if you’re not driving much. Winter tires may wear 10% to 15% faster than all season tires that you would normally use in the summer months, but they won’t wear down as aggressively as most people seem to think. It won’t hurt them at all to leave them on for a few extra weeks. If you are still working and live a fair distance from work, it would be a good idea to get them off by early May. But, once again, it’s not a “panic”. You will be safe, even with winter tires on a little longer than normal. If in doubt about whether you should wait or not, just give Car Medics a call!

3. Brake Maintenance

🛑BRAKES – It is normal for a vehicle’s brakes to become rusted, and even possibly seized, when a vehicle sits too long. Brake discs (rotors) are made of steel that is prone to rusting. But, as you drive and use your brakes, the brake pads rub on the discs and “scrape” off any microscopic rust that may have developed over time. If the car sits for more than a week, especially in wet or damp spring weather, the rust build-up can become excessive and can actually cause the brakes to “stick” to themselves. To alleviate this, the prescription is the same as for keeping the battery alive. Drive the car for at least 20 minutes, once a week, AND make sure you use the brakes a great number of times during this drive to get them working and to polish the surface rust away. Even a few hard stops would be a good idea to clean up the brakes – just make sure there’s no one right behind you when you stop suddenly! If you happen to keep your vehicle in a nice, dry garage, the issue of brakes rusting from wet weather becomes less of a concern, but it’s always best to take your 20 minute drive on a nice, dry day! If your car has sat for more than 2 or 3 weeks, the brakes may “scrape” or “grind” for the first 5 to 10 stops. This noise may be normal since you are simply scraping off the accumulated rust. If this noise doesn’t go away after a good drive, you may actually need brake repairs and/or servicing and should call Car Medics to get it looked at as soon as possible.

4. Rodent Infestation Prevention

We removed the rear seat on this Kingston ON vehicle to remove a mouse nest.

We removed the rear seat on this Kingston ON vehicle to remove a mouse nest.

🐁RODENTS – Spring has sprung and the mice, squirrels and chipmunks know it. They are currently looking for a place to start a family and your car that sits idle may look like the perfect place to do so! To minimize this possibility:

  • NEVER leave any food or traces of food in your vehicle. If you or your kids eat in the car, never leave empty food wrappers behind. Make sure the kids haven’t spilled any food recently – check in, under and around car seats!! AND, don’t leave any bird seed or pet food in the car either. It may not be food to us, but it smells and looks appetizing to most rodents. Keep your car clean. Rodents like to hide in areas that are full of debris. Trunks full of stuff that never gets emptied are great nesting places!!
  • Park your car away from trees, shrubs, lawn edges or buildings. Rodents will use the cover of these items to sneak around, gather food and return to their nest. Don’t make it easy for them.
  • After your weekly drive, don’t park in the exact same spot.
  • Check under the hood, inside the trunk and under the seats for signs of rodents or their nests. If you see anything, clean up the debris and nests right away to deter them from settling in for the long haul. If you continue to see signs of these rodents returning after you’ve cleaned up a mess, come see us at Car Medics right away before you are dealing with chewed electrical wires, bad smells or even a dead animal!!! We have lots of experience getting rid of these pests and their smells!
  • Moth balls and other smelly deterrents may be helpful, but are not always fool-proof. And, if you can’t stand the smell yourself, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Got Car Maintenance Questions?

If you have any questions about keeping your car maintained during COVID-19 self-isolation or feel you need to make an appointment, don’t hesitate to call Car Medics in Kingston ON at 613-547-8473, in Glenburnie ON at 613-546-6766 or send us an e-mail. We are here to serve you during this pandemic. You can also make an appointment online here.

Stay safe and healthy!