Many people have cut down on the amount of driving they are doing due to stay-at-home orders and being able to work from home. In fact, some auto insurance companies have even offered discounts to help reduce the costs associated with the lack of driving. Yet, that doesn’t mean you can put off car maintenance during Covid-19. What is different is how you go about getting it done and what steps you can take to minimize the spread of the virus.
It’s Not Time to Do It Yourself
If you’re trained and experienced, you may have some extra time right now. Changing the oil or updating the tire rotation may be something you want to do on your own. Unless you have that type of training, now is not necessarily the time to use YouTube as your teacher. The problem is, your vehicle may have a warranty in place the limits who should be doing maintenance tasks. Doing some tasks on your own, without the proper tools, can be dangerous. In other cases, buying parts, tools, and finding the time can become just too expensive.
So, what should you do to keep your car maintenance up during COVID? Here are a few strategies that can help you to do just that.
Car Maintenance During COVID Is Just As Important Now As It Was Before the Pandemic
What you don’t want to do is avoid maintenance. Even though you are not driving as much, your vehicle still needs attention. Now is a good time to pull out the owner’s manual and read when you should be conducting maintenance, how often, and when. Remember, many warranties are dependent on your documentation of oil changes and other maintenance is done on a routine basis. You don’t want to make the mistake of missing out here.
If your car hasn’t been driven recently, that in itself could pose a problem. Cars are not meant to sit unused for long periods. This can impact battery life and various other systems. Whenever possible, try to get out for a few short trips a few times of the week. Even if you don’t get out of your car, a drive around the block can make a difference.
What Still Needs to Be Done
If you are not driving as much, consider these steps as critical to keeping your vehicle in good overall condition during the pandemic.
Keep Your Fluids Full
This includes transmission fluid, engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, and power steering fluid. If you notice any type of spots or puddles under your car, do not put off getting those taken care of sooner. You also want to ensure if you are filling these on your own, that you’re using the right type of product for your car.
Watch the Tires
Tires that don’t move often can develop a flat easily. You may also notice that the tire is losing air more often than it should. If possible, check the tire pressure and adjust it as needed. In the warmer weather, you may need to let out some of the air. When it is cold, you may need to add more air to your car’s tires. If you find that you have a slow leak – evident by the air not staying in your tire, then you may need to have a professional take a look at it.
Get the Filters Cleaned and Changed
Now is a very good time to ensure all of the filters on your car are clean and in good condition. Your owner’s manual will tell you where they all are, when to change them, and how to do so. There are some makes and models that make some filters hard to change. That may mean that you need to turn to a professional for some guidance on these. In other cases, you may be able to get the parts you need to change the air filters and oil filters on your own.
Protect the Fuel
If your vehicle is standing for a long period of time, you may want to add fuel injector fluid to it. Some manufacturers and technicians recommend doing this at least one time ever 10,000 miles anyway. It helps to protect the engine to minimize any risks to it.
Other Steps to Take Now
This is a good time to monitor the overall health of your car and to have any types of concerns updated. Some additional areas to take into consideration include:
- Checking your tires for wear patterns and having replacements put on if so
- Changing out your windshield wiper blades, as needed
- Monitoring your brake pads (if you are not feeling the same level of stopping ability, don’t wait)
- If your car isn’t being used a lot, make sure you keep it inside the garage whenever possible to minimize weather and pest damage.
What to Do When You Need a Professional Repair?
Some car maintenance during COVID can be done by yourself. Yet, other repairs may mean bringing your vehicle in. At the same time, you may also find that right now is a good time to get some of those bigger problems taken care of while you are not driving as often. The key to remember is that you do not want to be exposed to the virus unnecessarily. Here are a few strategies to help you.
Choose a Repair Technician That’s Using Masks
When you pull up to talk to your technician, you want to see the entire team wearing masks. This is not meant to protect them, but to protect you and your vehicle. Stay up to date on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when it comes to how long the virus can stay on surfaces or in the air. Don’t assume that it is not present.
This is also a good time to talk to your technician about which steps they are taking to aggressively protect customer cars from potential infection. Remember, many people carry the virus without showing signs of them. Yet, when they step into your car, they could be putting you at risk. You want to know what the repair shop is doing to minimize these risks to you.
Keep Social Distancing in Mind
When you need to have repairs done, there are a few simple things you can do to make social distancing happen.
- Make your appointment online or call. You don’t have to visit and make an appointment face-to-face. Make sure to describe your problems or needs fully at this time.
- Drop off the vehicle instead of bringing it in during open hours. This can help you to avoid that face-to-face contact that is so important to minimize.
- Wear a mask when you do talk to your technician. They appreciate you doing so.
Social distancing is one of the best ways to minimize the spread. In a repair shop, it doesn’t have to be hard to do so.
Cleaning After Car Maintenance During COVID
Now that your car is ready for you to pick up, you may want a few more steps to help you to avoid picking up any germs. There are several things you can do to keep your car clean during COVID.
- Wipe down the car with disinfectant wipes when you first pick it up. You can ask the company to do this, too.
- Focus on the high-risk areas such as the door handles, gear shift, steering wheel, and seat adjustments.
- Ask the repair shop to sanitize your car if you cannot do so. Most of them will do this for you, minimizing your risk of picking up the virus.
You can and should keep up on the maintenance of your car yourself. And, pay attention to what you’re doing. For example, you should have your car inspected and repairs made before you head out on a safe road trip. Yet, you can do so in a smart way, with social distancing in mind.
Is Your Current Technician Unavailable?
Some auto repair technicians will close down during coronavirus for various reasons. That doesn’t mean just anyone should be handling your repairs and maintenance needs. It is a very good idea to work closely with a new company that has positive reviews and that is being aggressive at keeping COVID-19 out of their shop. You also want to ensure you are trusting your car to a licensed and certified technician. That helps minimize any risks that your warranty will be at risk during the repairs being made.
COVID-19 may be changing what you are doing and who services your car. What’s most important is to keep alert at what your car’s needs are during this time when your driving patterns are so different.
Explore Ways to Keep Your Car Loan Affordable
RefiJet aims to keep our clients proactive at minimizing risks to their car, a valuable asset. That is also why we offer a simple-to-use auto refinance calculator in case you have reasons to refinance your auto loan into one with a lower rate or lower monthly payment.