You and your family may find your vehicles being driven far more infrequently than usual.
Leaving cars parked for long periods of time can have unforeseen consequences that can impact both the reliability and potentially safety of the vehicles. With so much uncertainty right now, you may not want to take your car off the road for such a long period. In today's blog we'll cover some common trouble spots to watch out for and give you simple solutions for keeping your car moving.
Common Trouble Spots.
The biggest concern with tires is flat-spotting, which is when the weight of the vehicle sitting on one spot flattens out a portion of the rubber on the tire. While flat-spotting isn't likely to happen in two weeks, if conditions are right, a month of being stationary might be enough to cause problems. Low tire pressure and very cold weather can both contribute to the development of flat spots.
We recommend starting by checking your tire pressure and inflating them to factory specification. You can find manufacturer recommendations for tire pressures either on the placard attached to the doorsill of the driver's door or in your car's manual.
When left unused, brake rotors can begin to develop rust on the surface of the rotors. If you leave your parking brake engaged for a long period of time, it can actually cause the brake pads to bind to the rotors. While this shouldn't be a concern over a few weeks, if you know your car will be parked for a month or more we recommend leaving the parking brake off. Obviously, you should always put safety first and only do so on a flat surface. Brake repairs are always preferable to a runaway car.
Over time, your car's battery can discharge and leave you needing to jump-start your car. You can plug your vehicle into a battery tender if you have one. Or if you know your car will be sitting for a long time, you can always disconnect the battery.
If your vehicle is parked outside it's likely to accumulate dust, bird droppings, and other contaminants such as tree sap or water spots from nearby sprinklers and rain. Over time, exposure to the elements can damage your vehicle's paint. If you can, we recommend hand wash it if your local car wash is closed & parking under cover or using a weatherproof car cover.
Fluids are a major issue for long-term storage (for three months or more). Fuel can separate, and water vapor can accumulate in your gas tank. Gaskets and hoses that aren't kept lubricated can dry out and become brittle.
What to do? Just Drive It!
There's a simple solution to almost all of the troubles facing your car as it languishes in its parking spot: driving it. We recommend driving your car for at least 20 minutes once every two weeks. That's enough time to warm up your tires and protect from flat spots, return some charge to your battery, wear surface rust off your brake disks, and keep the fluids in your car moving and everything properly lubricated.
It's a simple solution, but it works. Cars are designed to be driven, so it's easier to keep them healthy by putting them to regular use.
Your car may come due for regular maintenance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Repair shops and dealership service departments have been deemed necessary services and at NTW, we remain open!.
Make sure to call us ahead to book your appointment 604.294.3788.
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Remember to Sterilize your vehicle
You can reduce the risk of coronavirus in your car by simply using disinfecting wipes on commonly touched areas such as the steering wheel, door handles, window switches, the dashboard, the inside door buttons, seat belts, gear shifters and touchscreens. How often should you do this? While your individual circumstances with your vehicle will vary, it's recommended cleaning and disinfecting touched surfaces.
Other places to clean are the door handles and other exterior touch points. Gas pump handles and keypads at gas stations are also locations to be wary of.
At NTW, we are actively following the guidance and safety recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Canada. Therefore we are taking precautions when handling your car for everyone's wellbeing.
Bring your car to National Tire Wholesale. Our technicians only recommend maintenance and repairs to keep you and your car safe.
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