While lockdown measures are getting slowly eased all over the country, many of us are still using our vehicles less than we did before the pandemic. We’re working from home where we can and venturing out onto the roads less. With non-essential travel still limited in some areas, lots of drivers are choosing to err on the side of caution and stay at home. No matter how much they miss the raw exhilaration that they feel behind the wheel.
Still, the changing circumstances mean that we need to change the way we take care of our vehicles (and ourselves when using them). Here are some tips for getting the most out of your vehicle both on and off the road.
First of all, if you’re thinking of taking the car on longer journeys than you have for some time, be sure to stay alert and aware on the road. The unfortunate truth is that some drivers have taken an extremely cavalier attitude when they hit the road throughout the lockdown. Some have taken the quieter roads as an invitation to treat them like racetracks. As such, they’re encountering an unexpected symptom of the coronavirus… It’s making them break out in speeding tickets.
Worse still, there’s evidence to suggest that instances of drunk driving are on the rise in some areas while the lockdown persists. Bars may be closed, but people are still drinking at home and getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. If you’ve been affected by one of these irresponsible drivers either as a driver or a pedestrian, contact a DUI attorney to assist you. If you haven’t, stay alert and vigilant on and near the roads.
Top up your tank regularly
With crude oil prices still at their lowest in years, you’ll probably want to take advantage of the opportunity to gas up as often as you can. Low gas prices notwithstanding, if you’re leaving your car off the road for long periods of time, it behoves you to prevent empty space in your fuel tank. As temperatures fluctuate between day and night, the condensation can cause droplets of water to collect in your fuel tank. Not only can these create rust, they can also cause damage to your fuel injectors. So make sure you top up your tank regularly and keep it full if it’ll be off the road for weeks ata a time.
Diesel engine? Remember to give your DPF a workout!
If you’ve only been making sparse, short journeys this can create problems in cars with diesel engines. The Diesel Particulate Filter can become clogged with soot and this can create serious problems if left unattended. The filter needs to be purged by taking your car out for a long run at a moderately high speed. A steady 5 minute run at around 2,500-3,000 rpm and you may detect a faint smell of burning. Don’t be alarmed. This is just a sign that your DPF has been purged and is now nice and clean again. Try and do this at least once a week if you’re only using your car to make short trips.
Keep checking your tire pressures
A slow puncture in one of your tires can be troublesome under lockdown. It can land you with a flat right when you don’t need one. So make sure you don’t leave it several weeks before checking your tire pressures. Many newer vehicles have electric sensors to check tire pressures, but if you have an older car, simply purchase a tire pressure gauge and use this to check your tire pressures at least once a week. This will give you peace of mind and reassure you that you won’t have to change your tire or drive with a flat.
Top up your fluids
Your fuel isn’t the only thing that should be topped up regularly when your car is stationary for long periods of time. You should also be sure to top up your other fluids like your windshield washer fluid and coolant. Most importantly, however, you should be sure to top up your oil regularly. When your vehicle is static, your oil doesn’t get the chance to work its way through the internal workings and will inevitably drain down to the sump. Low oil levels can result in greater friction between moving parts and potentially prove damaging to your vehicle.
Even though you’re likely using your car left, you still need to be proactive to keep it running smoothly. The measures above will ensure that you continue to get the best out of your car while under lockdown.