Any vehicle that is left unused for a period of time may develop issues that require intervention to get running normally again.
Johannesburg – With South Africa in lockdown, most cars will inevitably be left unused for the three week period, or longer if it is extended. And yes, this will benefit your car in terms of avoiding wear and tear, but leaving it alone completely is also not a good idea, the Automobile Association warns.
“Any vehicle that is left unused for a period of time may develop issues that require intervention to get running normally again,” the association said.
“But the hassle of wanting to start a vehicle when the battery is drained, or driving on uneven wheels, may be alleviated with some proper home care for the next couple of weeks”.
So what can you do to prevent any headaches when the lockdown is lifted?
The AA has released the following tips to help motorists keep their car in tip-top shape during the lockdown:
Disconnect the battery:
Although many will recommend removing the battery completely, disconnecting the negative terminal will also suffice. Always disconnect the negative terminal first, then the positive terminal, and never let the two terminals touch. It’s also a good idea to rub petroleum jelly on the terminals to prevent rust.
Time for a clean-up:
Dirt on the vehicle may cause permanent damage if left untreated, so be sure to clean your vehicle inside and outside before storage, using approved cleaning agents.
Keep it covered:
If possible, park the vehicle indoors, under a roof, or use a car cover. However, do not use a car cover if you are parking the vehicle in a garage, as any moisture inside will evaporate faster.
Cover the intakes and outlets:
If possible cover the air intakes with a cloth, and stuff a rag in the exhaust outlet. This will prevent insects and small rodents from getting in there. But do remember to remove these before you start – leave a note on the steering wheel if you have to.
To prevent the rubber of the windscreen wiper blades from sticking to the windscreen, place plastic wrap under the blades.
While the tips above should suffice for the current lockdown period, if it gets extended, or if you are storing a car for other reasons, then more steps could be necessary, the AA said.
A full tank is a good idea:
A full tank in an idle car might not seem like a good idea at first, but it could prevent rust forming on the inside by keeping moisture from entering the tank. Also ensure that the tank is correctly sealed.
This is really for long-term storage. If the vehicle is standing idle for a long period, flat spots may occur on the wheels. To prevent this, jack all the tyres off the ground or position the vehicle on blocks of wood all round. The idea is to keep all the tyres off the ground. Also be sure to check tyre pressure is normal after storage.
“Having a reliable vehicle is essential and should not be taken for granted. If you are leaving your vehicle unused for a long period, it will still require some maintenance. Do not assume that an unused vehicle is going to start first time weeks after it was last used if it is not properly cared for during the lockdown,” the AA added.