Automobile Upkeep Throughout the Pandemic


For an older car, following the mileage recommendation in the owner’s manual in difficult conditions will help keep the lubricant and its mix of protective additives fresh (often online and from the automaker if you run out of the manual). The systems built into many new cars that remind you of the service you need, such as: B. Oil changes, take into account the length of trips and recommend changes based on actual driving.

Changing the oil is also an ideal time to do other maintenance, including checking all belts and hoses. While both of them suffer from engine heat under the hood, they can also develop cracks while the car is sitting upright.

Add car batteries to the time list. They have a limited lifespan that is not based on the kilometers traveled. They often begin to lose weight after three years and give up after five to seven altogether.

Jill Trotta, Certified Technician and Vice President of Marketing at RepairPal, a website that provides estimates and connects car owners with skilled mechanics, knows how to properly care for a car. Yet even she let a battery run past the point where it could be revived on one charge. That’s exactly what happened to her 2014 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid when it stood in the driveway for months without being driven during the pandemic.

The solution: a low-power battery maintenance device that replenishes the charge between drives. Basic start at around $ 25. Also, keep in mind that while changing the battery is a straightforward process on most cars, it is more painful on some electronics-intensive models. BMWs dating back almost two decades require a registration and programming process, which means additional costs and a possible visit to a dealer. First of all, it’s worth preventing a dead battery.

Another maintenance task that should not be postponed is replacing the timing belt on motors that use them. The belt turns the camshafts that open the engine’s valves and can cause serious engine damage if it fails. The belt is typically good for 80,000 to 100,000 miles of service and may even degrade while seated. So stick to the automaker’s recommendation for years between renewals.

An indication that a car is not being driven is a layer of rust on the brake discs. A light coating is not a problem, although it can be noisy for a few blocks. It is sanded off by the first press of the brake pedal while carefully driving through the neighborhood.