Driving during the COVID-19 lockdown sounds like an oxymoron. Many of us barely used a tank of gas over the last three months! As restrictions ease and we enjoy the summer, many of us are now hitting the road more frequently and for longer distances. What effects does basically going form a cold start to driving have on your car? How to ensure our cars are up to the task as we start driving more?
1) You STILL need that oil change! I have received countless messages from customers saying: “let’s hold off on that oil change, I haven’t been driving.” So, why would you still need an oil change? One word: CONDENSATION. I have a personal story on the matter. My car only had 1000 miles since its last oil change; barely put 200 miles on it since the lockdown. Yet, the oil was completely black when I checked it. Why? Due to lack of use, time, and weather, moisture had built up in the fluid. Driving the car regularly usually burns water off. Keeping your car parked means moisture builds up. This goes for all fluids, and not just oil. Why is this bad? Just like old motor oil, oil with too much moisture can cause engine damage and a host of other issues. So, when in doubt, check the dipstick or bring it down to the shop and we can take a quick look!
2) Drive, even if you have nowhere to go: If you are still working from home or otherwise not leaving the house much, we encourage you to take your car out for a spin around your neighborhood and on the freeway at least once a week. This will ensure that the fluids flow through the hoses, car parts stay lubricated, moisture burns off, the battery stays charged, and tire wear does not become uneven. Moreover, as you drive your car, you will notice if anything feels off; so when you are ready to drive more miles, you will notice if something is not right, and can address it ASAP. Nothing would be worse than not driving for months, you are finally ready for that day trip, and you find a flat tire or dead battery!
3) Be aware of our Midtowner Service: We wrote a blog about low-mileage driving, since being in Midtown means many of our customers live, work, and socialize all within a two-mile radius, and rarely drive. As discussed in our blog, “The Urban Life,” various things can happen to your car over time if you do not drive often, including: oil and other fluids break down due to condensation build-up, tires lose air and pressure, tires develop flat spots, separate, and crack, windshield wipers crack, hoses and belts crack, and battery charge is affected. Before you start driving more, we highly recommend that you have your vehicle checked over, to make sure it is in good condition. We offer the Midtowner Service and Trip Inspections to give you peace of mind that your car is ready to hit the road. Call us for more information and what is involved in each service.
We have enough stress in life right now without adding car troubles to the list of stresses. If you are concerned, have questions about anything, or would like to make an appointment, we are here for you!