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Being Completely Sedentary Is Bad for Your Car, Too

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With commutes off the calendar, for the time being, it’s easy to forget about your car. If that sounds like a description of your new reality, don’t just park it and put away the keys. Being completely sedentary is bad for a car, just like it’s bad for humans. The following tips might come in handy, and don’t worry—they’re not as complicated as trying to refuel a nuclear reactor.

Caring for your car during the lock-down

The most immediate problem is keeping your car’s 12-volt battery from dying, and running the engine—and therefore the alternator—for at least this long, about once every week, should prevent that from happening. But getting your car moving will help more than just the battery. Oils and fluids and lubricants will circulate the bits that need them. Brakes will shed their surface rust. And in the long term, you’ll avoid problems like flat tire spots and dried-out belts.

For households with just one car, it’s probably advice that’s unnecessary, because everyone needs to pop out for groceries at some point. But the US is the land of two (or more) cars per family, and both need the occasional bit of attention. Even if you have a battery-electric vehicle that gets plugged into a beautiful, dry garage every night, it should get turned on a weekly—even some BEVs will discharge their 12-volt batteries if left idle for too long.

For bigger jobs, you should still be able to take your car to a mechanic or dealership to be fixed. Fixing broken cars has been deemed an essential service in most locales, but remember to call ahead to make an appointment, and when you pick your car up, you’ll want to disinfect the door handles and the interior.

How to care for your car during the lock-down

Keeping a Car’s Exterior Clean

Keeping a car’s exterior clean is an essential part of protecting its paintwork, and as spring arrives, you may well have a winter’s worth of road grime that needs dealing with. But don’t forget about the inside, mainly since it contains most of the surfaces you touch.

Mix up your ethanol solution and use a spray bottle and a clean microfiber cloth to clean all the surfaces, then don’t forget to wash the microfiber cloth afterwards. You should be able to use ethanol safely with almost all the surfaces in a car, from leather and fabric to display screens, although perhaps not synthetic or natural suede if your ride is fancy like that. Don’t use products containing bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or ammonia, as those can wreck upholstery and the various coating on screens.

Caring for your car during the lockdown because of COVID-19

Prepare Your Car for Long-Term Storage

If you think you definitely won’t be driving your car for many weeks, there are some simple steps you can take to mothball it for a while. Giving it a good clean inside and out is the first of these, and you’ll want to put a weatherproof cover on your car if you have to store it outdoors. Some OEMs recommend you preemptively change the oil if you think your vehicle will be off the road for more than a month, and even if you don’t do that, it’s a good idea to fill the gas tank one last time and adds a fuel stabilizer.

If you’re parking a car for more than a month, and you don’t want to worry about running it once a week, you can use a battery tender to trickle-charge it.

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Source The New York Times

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