Keep your vehicle in shape during the coronavirus lockdownDriver
With New Zealand in Alert Level 4 lockdown to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), there are lots of vehicles that are largely unused for prolonged periods.
Even a stationary car needs some maintenance to avoid future problems.
Here are some tips to help you keep your unused vehicle in good shape.
Boost the battery
The battery slowly loses its charge when a vehicle sits idle. It should be enough to simply start the car every 3-4 days to prevent battery drain.
If you can, go for a short drive (heading out for essentials?). But even running the vehicle’s engine while going nowhere for 5-10 minutes will boost battery health.
Make sure you do this in an open area. DO NOT do this in a closed environment, such as a garage, as exhaust fumes are toxic.
Check your tyres
When a vehicle doesn’t go anywhere for a while, tyre pressure will drop. And if the car sits on flat tyres for a long time, that can cause structural damage to the wheels. Check the pressure regularly and, if you can, top us as required.
Give the brakes a break
A handbrake left on for a prolonged period will appreciate a release occasionally. Taking the handbrake off when you are turning the engine over will be good for the car.
What about EVs?
Electric vehicles (EVs) might need less maintenance than vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICEs), but they’re not entirely maintenance-free. EVs can lose some range after sitting idle for just a week. It is important to keep your EV’s battery at a proper state of charge. Most battery experts recommend keeping the charge at somewhere between 40% and 80% when the vehicle is left unused for a prolonged period.
Keep things smelling fresh
Even if your vehicle is only left unused for a couple of days, try to keep the interior clean and tidy to prevent the air from becoming stale. Dispose of any rubbish and remove wet floor mats or other sources of moisture that could fester in the trapped air inside the vehicle.
When disinfecting, be careful what you use on different car surfaces. Specialised car cleaning products are often the best option.
- Avoid bleach except on simple plastics.
- DO NOT use solvents.
- Hand sanitisers contain alcohol, which can dry out leather. Use conditioner to mitigate the drying out.
- Make sure you wipe off the chemicals you wipe on – don’t let them linger.
- Focus on the surfaces you touch the most – handles, switches, buttons, mirrors.
Protect the exterior
Keep the vehicle in a garage or undercover if you can. If you have no choice but to park outdoors, try to avoid spots under trees. Resin, sap and bird droppings can cause damage to paintwork, so consider a cover to protect it. Bird droppings on modern water-based paint will start to impact the lacquer within 90 minutes, or even less if the car hasn’t been polished for a few years.
Non-essential maintenance and repairs may need to be postponed during the coronavirus lockdown. However, safety is our top priority, so contact LeasePlan if your vehicle needs some urgent attention. We will work with our supplier partners as best we can to make sure you get the service you need.
Keep up to date with LeasePlan’s response to COVID-19 here.