Ten car care tips while in the parking

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020 00:00 |
Car care tips. Photo/Courtesy

Many personal and public service vehicles are now parked and sitting idle due to the supressed freedom of movement brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. ADALLA ALLAN presents a few tips to help you keep your auto in mint condition while at the parking bay

Clean it up

Give your car a thorough cleaning both on the interior and exterior. Remove any trash that would rot in the car.

Don’t forget to clean the tyres too, which seem to hold grease and mud that can cause damage over time.

Use approved cleaning agents and avoid the harsh detergents and chemicals that may lead to discolouration.

Rinse the car with clean free-flowing water before drying it up with a soft towel and finish with a good quality wax to give the car a glossy look.

Disconnect the battery 

To keep charge on the battery, it is safe to disconnect the battery terminals. Or else, start the car every three days and let it idle for a moment.

This will further prevent the terminals and the spark plugs from rusting. Always disconnect the negative terminals first before the positive terminals.

However, if you are uncertain of how to do such, get an expert to do it to prevent mechanical mishaps when resuming normal use.

Similarly, rubbing petroleum jelly on the terminals after removal will prevent rust from settling in.

Jack up 

Cars that have been stationary for long periods develop flat spots on tyres. The resting of the car on flat wheels perpetually affects the tyre lifespan and keeps the car base in the risk of developing rust.

To avoid this, use four jacks (or blocks of wood), so that the car doesn’t rest on the wheels. Also confirm that the tyres are satisfactorily inflated. 

Disengage the handbrake

Engaging the handbrake over an extended period can result in the brake pads getting stuck to the discs or drums.

Needless to say, if this happens, you’ll be in some trouble the next time you want to drive the car.

The smarter thing to do would be to use wheel chocks, say a piece of wood or even a brick, to keep it from rolling and leave the car in first gear.

On a manual transmission though, the gear can work as a handbrake on different techniques. If the front of your car is facing downhill, you’ll want to put your car into reverse to stop it from rolling forward.

Conversely, if you’re facing uphill, selecting a forward gear will help prevent it rolling backwards.

The Highway Code gives no specific advice as to which gear to choose, but first gear is generally a safe bet.

‘Jaza’ tank

Keep the tank on the full. Having a full tank means the amount of air within the fuel tank is as less as possible leading to lower condensation.

The lesser the fuel in the tank, the more the moisture, which would somewhat lead to rust on the fuel tank. 

Keep the insurance intact

The verge of the lockdown is not guaranteed. It is, therefore, advisable to keep your valid car insurance safe even if it is set to expire soon.

Interfering with your car insurance, may not only draw issues during an emergency, but can also impact on any claim rewards since that is tantamount to flouting the terms of your policy.

Lock doors, windows and side mirrors

To keep the car safe from would be burglars, ensure every window is raised, all the doors locked and the side mirrors closed off after parking the car.

This would avert the risk of having the car getting broken into or any valuables getting snatched while on parking.

Moreover, this would also minimise the probability of other motorists knocking off the side mirrors when driving in or out of the parking lots. 

Park under shade

It is worth noting that parking your car in direct sunlight would damage the car’s interiors and exterior.

In the interior, it can dry up or crack the dashboard and leather seats, while on the exterior, it may fade the colour of the car.

To avoid this, one has to park the car under a shade, but not under the trees. Many trees produce sticky fluids, resins and fruits that can gradually damage the paint.

If this happens, use a special liquid or spray the soap solution to wash it off, but don’t hard rub it as it may remove the upper coat.

Dry off the moist 

When the weather is hot, the moisture settle on the damp areas such as the floors below the car carpets leading to fungal growth that could ruin the inside of your car.

Always ensure you remove the carpet while cleaning the car and thereafter dry them and the surfaces thoroughly.

Block the exhaust 

To solve the stinky air inside the car, block the exhaust and the air conditioning vents with a cloth or rag.

This also eliminates the chances of rodents, insects and other crawling animals from getting into the car.

When the invaders decompose inside the car, the odour can be intolerable the next time you would want to use the vehicle and it could be in an emergency case.

But do remember to check and remove such before starting the engine. In fact, you could consider sticking a note on the steering wheel to act as a reminder. 

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