As Canadians continue to stay home during this pandemic, many cars are sitting idle for long stretches of time. Maintaining your car is important whether it’s parked for a long time or in regular use.
“Dead batteries, rusty brakes and flat tires can be worrisome leaving a car parked for weeks on end,” says Kaitlynn Furse, director, corporate communications, CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO). Car owners should put measures in place to avoid unexpected mechanical issues, much like a snowbird would, if cars are sitting idle in the driveway for long periods of time.”
CAA SCO car maintenance checklist:
- Gas up. If your vehicle is going to be idle for more than 30 days, fill the tank up to the brim. This will help prevent moisture from building up in the fuel tank. Add a fuel stabilizer to the tank when full (stabilizers have a shelf life of three months and may help keep the fuel lines and engine from corroding).
- Protect the battery. It will eventually lose its charge if it isn’t driven at least once every few weeks. A trickle charger or battery tender with an automatic shut-off feature will keep the battery in good condition when the vehicle isn’t being driven.
- Inflate the tires. You can get flat spots on your tires from the vehicle sitting in one position. If your car is going to be parked and not moving add extra 10 PSI to the tire pressure when it is sitting idle. When you are ready to drive it remove that extra 10 PSI.
- Clean it well. Protect your paint job by removing acidic bird droppings, corrosive salt or dirt off the paint and take it a step further, polish or wax the exterior.
Another item to consider is to check your tires to minimize the likelihood of wheel separation. A wheel separation is the unintended release of any active wheel from a moving vehicle. These incidents occur most commonly during the months of May through August after motorists switch from winter to all season tires.
“Wheel separation can be very dangerous, causing property damage, injuries and even fatalities,” says Furse. “If you are changing your tires at home, please make sure you go the extra step to make sure they are installed properly.”
If you are unsure about any part of the installation of a wheel on your vehicle, be sure to take the vehicle to a qualified shop for its seasonal tire change. CAA has compiled a list of Approved Auto Repair Service facilities that have been vetted for quality service standards. Please check with your local facility as business hours for AARS locations may vary during the pandemic.