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How to protect your parked vehicle during COVID-19
TORONTO -- With many people working from home as a result of COVID-19 cars are spending more time in the driveway than on the highway.
And while drivers may be saving money on gas, it’s important to make sure your vehicle is looked after and doesn’t require costly repairs from sitting for long periods of time.
Consumer Reports says there are a number of important steps you should take to keep your vehicle running smoothly.
"Even if you have nowhere to go, you still want to be driving your car around town for about 20 minutes each week,” said Jeff Bartlett, Auto Editor for Consumer Reports.
“This will keep your battery charged and prevents rust from building up on the brakes and calipers."
At the same time, gas prices are so low that you might be tempted to top off your tank whenever you’re out, but Bartlett says you should only do that if you really need fuel.
"If you think your car will end up with the same fuel in the tank for more than three months, completely fill your car up at the gas station, and add the appropriate amount of fuel stabilizer, which will help keep the fuel from breaking down over time," said Bartlett.
There are also some simple maintenance checks you can perform from home.
Before taking your weekly drive, check your oil on a level surface while the engine is cold and while you're under the hood, make sure your engine's air filter is clean and free of excessive dirt or debris. You can also check your cabin air filter.
If you happen to receive a recall notice for your vehicle during the pandemic, Bartlett advises that minor recalls can be put off, but that serious matters should be addressed right away.
“If it's a recall for something that could put you in harm's way, like an airbag defect, mechanical issue, or risk of fire, you should stop driving the vehicle right away and contact your dealer."
You can ask the dealer about their current policies for disinfecting vehicles, and be sure to clean the surfaces of your vehicle with solutions that contain at least 70 per cent isopropyl alcohol, or soap and water.
Even if your car is not moving it needs to be kept clean and washed. Bird droppings and tree sap can be very acidic. if you haven't washed your vehicle since the winter, the under carriage spray at an automatic car wash can help remove salt and road grime.