Coronavirus lockdown has been extended till May 3. This means most cars in India will remain in the garage for more than a month. It will not be wise to take out your car in a jiffy when the lockdown 2.0 is over as your car may have developed certain snags due to non-use over a long period of time.
People have been reaching out to us with several queries on how to take care of one's car during lockdown. While we have already shared ideas about how to go about it, here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions pertinent to car issues during this phase:
How to take care of battery:
Due to the long shutdown, the car batteries will not be in ideal condition. It will be wise to keep the battery running for a while after you start the engine. Ideally, if you have done this exercise at least once in every few days in the past one month your car should start without a hitch.
Hybrid vehicles or electric cars will need a different set of exercises to ensure the battery is in good shape. You need to keep the engine running with headlights on for at least 30 minutes, at least once in a month.
How to ensure engine is running smoothly:
When you prepare to take your car out again, follow the practice that should be done even otherwise. Do not rev straight from the word go. It is a bad practice and can harm your engine even otherwise.
It may happen that your car does not start in the first or second attempt. In such cases, you should be extra cautious. Do not crank the engine for more than 12 seconds. And when it finally turns on, do not race away. Let your engine run in idle for a while to allow engine oil to spread evenly for better lubrication before driving it out.
How to take care of the tyres:
It is often one of the most neglected part when keeping a car stationary for a long period of time. The sheer weight of the car can be overbearing for the tyres if stalled at the same position for too long. They tend to lose pressure. In worst case scenarios, you may find your tyres have flattened by the time you can go out.
To tackle the issue, you need to frequently monitor tyre pressure. You can do that when you are checking the battery and engine intermittently during lockdown. All that you need to do is move your car up and down a bit every time you check your car, so that your tyres roll for a while. This will help to keep them in shape. You should also avoid keeping the hand brakes on or keep the drive selector in P mode while your car is parked. Try to keep it in neutral, or put it in gear or find a tyre stopper instead.
Even then, your tyres will lose some pressure. It is not advisable to drive with low tyre pressure. So get it inflated before you leave home if you can, or find the nearest shop where you can do that.
How to take care of brakes, ACs and other parts:
When you take your car out, you may hear the brakes make creaking noise. It is normal due to long overlay. You need to drive slowly without using the brakes too frequently. It should ease up in a while. If not, check your brake fluid.
The AC should also be monitored frequently when checking your car during lockdown. When you turn on the engine, keep the AC on for a while as well to check cooling. Also check the fan and AC belts because the rubber parts can get hard due to non-use and they tend to crack.
Before you roll out don’t forget to check the levels of engine coolant, brake and clutch fluids.