How to maintain a car that’s rarely driven
Driving habits changed significantly in 2020. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 forced many professionals to work from home full-time. In addition, stay-at-home measures greatly limited how much people could or would travel in their free time. The result was a lot of cars spending a lot of time sitting idly in driveways.
Just because a car is not being driven very much does not mean its owner can forgo vehicle maintenance. Drivers can take these steps to ensure their vehicles stay in shape even as they’re primarily staying in the driveway.
• Adhere to recommended maintenance schedules. Auto manufacturers typically recommend maintenance schedules based on the number of miles a car is driven or the length of time since its most recent maintenance appointment. “Whichever comes first” may be recommended for fluid changes and routine tuneups, and this rule of thumb should still be followed. Even if a car has barely hit the road in recent months, its fluids, such as oil, are still aging and still need to be replaced.
• Turn the car on every so often. Turning the car on, even if you only intend to let it sit idle in the driveway, keeps the vehicle components lubricated by allowing fluids to cycle their way through the engine. Turning the car on also ensures the battery stays fresh and doesn’t die, a lesson many drivers have learned the hard way during the COVID-19 outbreak.
• Disconnect the battery if necessary. Drivers who own two vehicles or families who have only been using the family car in recent months can disconnect the batteries from their unused vehicles to prevent corrosion. Corrosion decreases battery life and performance. If drivers notice a white, green or blue covering around the battery terminals, posts or cables, corrosion is likely the culprit and the battery will need to be replaced.
• Take the car for a spin. Of course, driving a vehicle every so often is a great way to keep it running strong. Multi-car families that tend to use the same car to shop for groceries or pick up takeout orders can periodically use their other car to run such errands.
Cars are sitting idly in driveways more than ever before. Vehicle maintenance must remain a priority even for cars that rarely hit the open road.