This year has been entirely unique thanks to COVID-19. Our modes of interaction have completely changed. For a lot of us, our daily drives to the office were cut short in favour of remote work systems, and we no longer had to pick our kids from school thanks to online classes. As a result, our cars haven’t enjoyed or received as much attention as they used to. An idle and unmaintained car can be a huge source of danger and we at Carhoot took it upon ourselves to share a few COVID-19 car care tips before we embark on our holiday road trips & adventures:
Keep It Clean
It’s really important to keep your vehicle clean, especially if you are going to leave it for long periods of time. Our cars collect tons of germs and dirt, and this can create serious health risks, not to mention, affect the longevity of your car. Research shows that our steering wheels are the dirtiest parts of our cars and with COVID19, maintaining clean surfaces is a life-saving necessity.
Dirt on your car can:
Limit your visibility. The headlights are subject to all the dirt, road grime, insects and light as the front end of your vehicle, which can quickly eat into the lens surface. This can severely reduce the spread of the headlight beam, making it harder to see and be seen.
Lead to corrosion and rust. Remove enough paint, and the underlying metal will be directly exposed to water and moisture in the air, leading to rust. Even if all the paint is intact, there will still be small unpainted areas at the edges of panels that are still susceptible, especially when salt is present
Breaking Through Clearcoat. Modern car coatings are made up of a primer, a colour coat, and a clear coat. Breakthrough the layer of clearcoat, and your car’s paint will age a lot faster. The clear coat is there to protect the underlying coloured base coat from UV light and physical damage so your car stays the same colour for years. Once that protective layer is removed, the colour will bleach out from light exposure, while it will wear down faster because it isn’t as abrasion-resistant as the topcoat. Primer is designed to adhere to the metal and provide a surface for the paint. If it’s exposed, it will draw in moisture, further accelerating paint damage
A car cover is a worthy investment and will help protect your car from the elements, especially if you will leave it unused for extended periods.
Make sure you get it thoroughly cleaned and pay attention to all those little hard to reach spots.
PRO TIP: Spray any unpainted metal with undercoating to help protect against rust and plug in some steel wool in your exhaust pipe to prevent little insects & critters from messing up with your car. You can also use the Carhoot App to request for detailing before storing it.
Keep Your Tires Healthy
When it comes to tires, vigilance is key. Under-inflation is one of the leading causes of tire failure. If tire pressure is too low, too much of the tire’s surface area touches the road, which increases friction. Increased friction can cause the tires to overheat, which can lead to premature wear, tread separation and blowouts. Flat tires are a constant danger on our roads and one of the ways you can develop a flat is if you don’t use/move your car as often. You can keep your tires in tip-top shape by:
Filling them with nitrogen prevents air from running out quickly and running flat. Remember in Chemistry class, when we were taught Nitrogen is heavier than Oxygen…well, facts like these come in handy when keeping your tyres in great shape!
Rotate your tires regularly…you can set reminders on your mobile devices or Google Calendar to make sure you don’t forget!
Make sure your tires are inflated to the recommended air pressure levels as per your manufacturer and be careful not to exceed the recommended limit.
Don’t engage the parking brake if you are going to keep your car in storage, as it can become “frozen” and difficult to disengage. If you’re worried about your car rolling, get some wheel chocks or blocks of wood to wedge against the tires.
If you have access to the right tools & space (flat and preferably concrete floored storage space/garage) you can consider raising your car to take off weight from the tires and suspension.
Lastly, always check ALL FIVE TYRES before going anywhere. Even your spare tire needs some TLC before any road adventure.
PRO TIP: Make use of the Carhoot App to replace your old tires with high quality and verified tires, and get your tires balanced.
Check Your Fuel, Fluids & Pow
Cars use a lot of fluids to function properly. A car generally has around 6 primary fluids aside from fuel. If you are not going to use your car as often or even at all, you still need to keep up with your car’s recommended fluid maintenance checks. Keep your car running smoothly by:
Keeping your fuel tank full when storing your car. This will help prevent moisture from building up in the fuel tank. Fuel can last up to three months but adding an ethanol-based stabilizer can help keep your fuel lines and engine safe from corrosion.
Check all your fluid levels (engine coolant, transmission fluids, brake fluids, antifreeze, etc )and change them as needed. If you live in colder areas like Limuru & Kericho, make sure you keep a close eye on your antifreeze levels.
Change your engine oil often. It is also recommended that you run fuel through the system every once in a while to keep your engine healthy. Don’t forget to change your oil filter too!
Your car battery will lose charge (discharge) if it isn’t driven in a couple of weeks. All you need to keep your battery running is to connect it to a trickle charger or battery tender with an automatic shut-off feature or float mode. This will make sure that your battery doesn’t get overcharged. The battery can remain in your car or be removed while it’s hooked up to the battery tender.
PRO TIP: Keep a full fuel canister in your garage or on hand, and remember to top off your fuel tank every time you store your car. Alternatively, you can make use of the Carhoot fuel delivery feature if you run out and don’t want to leave home.
We hope you learnt a few neat tricks and drive safe this Festive Season!