How to maintain your vehicle during the pandemic

Consumer Reports

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – In this time of social distancing and working from home, many of us are spending a lot less time in our cars. But while less time behind the wheel means money savings on gas, your vehicle still needs a little TLC while it waits to hit the road.

Odds are your car has seen a dip in its average mileage during the age of stay home orders.
But while your car spends more time in the driveway than on the highway, there are a number of important steps you can 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. This will keep your battery charged, and prevent rust from building up on the brakes and calipers from seizing up,” says Jeff Bartlett with Consumer Reports.

While you might be tempted to top off your tank with gas prices so low, only do so if you need the 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,” says Bartlett.

Check your oil on a level surface while the engine is cold. While you’re under the hood, make sure your engine’s air filter is clean and free of excessive dirt or debris. What if you receive a recall notice for your vehicle? Consumer Reports says minor recalls can be put off during the coronavirus crisis, however: “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,” Bartlett said.

Also, it’s a good idea to check with your mechanic and car 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% isopropyl alcohol, or soap and water.

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