GETTING YOUR CAR BACK ON THE ROAD
Your car has been parked for a while and now you intend to drive it again. Before that engine is turned on, let’s ensure that your car is in the right condition to cruise the roads.
1. Check the battery
A car’s battery may drain, lose power, or become entirely defunct when left unused, so checking its battery condition is mandatory. If a car has been sitting in the garage without being warmed up at least once a week, be prepared to replace the battery when the vehicle refuses to start.
2. Check the tires
Next, check the tires. When a car is parked inside a closed garage, the tire may cool down and loses pressure, and you may find flat spotting. It is never advisable to drive on a flat tire, so make sure the tires have enough air as recommended by their manufacturer.
3. Is your hand brake working properly?
Not only battery and tires, the hand brake may also experience trouble after some time of inactivity. It may jam or is sticking, which certainly will affect your driving comfort.
This condition usually occurs due to water build up; perhaps the car was washed at one point when the hand brake was activated and then parked while the brake pads were still wet.
To avoid sticking brake, make sure the tires and brake system are completely dry before stowing the car.
If you sense that the brake may be stuck when you’re about to drive again, apply and release it slowly with a little bit of force to get the brake working normally.
4. Engine liquid – ensure no spills and leaks
Check everything from engine oil, windshield wiper fluid, battery water, brake oil, to your fuel level. Engine oil may need replacement if the vehicle has been left stationary for a significant period. During this time, the still oil may settle in the bottom of the tank and its lubricating properties deteriorate. Without replacement, the engine components are at risk of rubbing each other with no protective layer, which may result in damage.
Don’t forget to peek under your vehicle to make sure there is no spills and leaks.
5. Check the electrical system
The danger that lurks behind a car in a garage may come from inside the house: pest, or in this case, rodents. A stationary car is unfortunately inviting for rodents to set up home; not only that, they may feed off the car’s cables and damage the electrical system.
To assess your car’s condition, turn on all electrical features – lamps, audio, AC, windows, turn signals, and windshield wipers – to see if they are working properly.
6. Do a short test drive
Now that everything appears good, turn on your engine. At this point, listen to peculiar sounds or buzz, and try to notice if there is anything that is out of place. Press the gas pedal lightly several times just to get a feel and see if the vehicle makes strange noises.
For your first drive out, take the car for a trial lap around the neighbourhood. Drive slowly at first and then increase to your normal speed – all the while making sure your car is safe and sound.
Don’t forget to check your fuel level; if your car only has less than a half tank, fill up immediately to prevent condensed water from building up inside the tank. If you are not confident of your car’s safety, take it to your nearest auto shop to get comprehensive diagnostics.
Moreover, your own safety is just as important. At this current time, always ensure you have personal hygiene supplies available in the cabin – extra bottles of hand sanitizer or antiseptic wipes – wear your mask and clean the car’s cabin regularly. For extra precaution, disinfect your car from time to time. Check our article IS DISINFECTING VEHICLES NECESSARY? to know the proper way of disinfecting the car yourself.