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28 Mar 2020

Taking care of our vehicle and ourselves during confinement

  • Written by Aitor
Taking care of our vehicle and ourselves during confinement

These days more than ever, it is very likely that many of us will have to stop our vehicle for a long time. We offer you some guidelines to avoid breakdowns and problems due to the lack of use of it, as well as recommendations on cleaning.

These are generic recommendations that each must adapt to their particular circumstances, since the mechanics of each type of vehicle is very different. It is also not comparable that the vehicle is parked in a garage that is outdoors. We will also have to adapt to the circumstances of each country regarding the order of confinement by COVID-19 that each one has, to avoid breaching it.

Parking lot

The best option may seem covered parking (under normal circumstances it is), and many of you may think that it is best to wash the exterior of the car to disinfect it, but that is a mistake, in case the vehicle was infected, the risk of contagion it will be much higher if we try to wash it than if we let the virus disappear by itself, simply avoiding contact with the surface, if we leave the car outside even if it gets dirtier, if it is sunny and a good temperature, the virus will remain active very little time. The only thing that can be interesting to disinfect is the door handle.

As for the interior of the vehicle, everything depends, if we only use the vehicle (which should be normal), a prior disinfection of our hands when entering and leaving, a disinfection of the handles, steering wheel and gear lever would suffice. If, on the other hand, we travel with someone (or we want to take maximum precautions), if an interior cleaning could be interesting, that is, always wearing disposable protective gloves during cleaning. For deep cleaning, in addition to the dashboard, the upholstery should not be forgotten as our clothes are always in direct contact with it. If we wear gloves, we should never touch our faces with them, whether we use them for cleaning (essential) or for normal vehicle use (recommended).

IF OUR VEHICLE IS GOING TO STOP A LONG TIME

If we are going to be parked for a long time it is advisable to carry out certain checks and routines to avoid problems.

Battery

If possible, the battery should be disconnected so that it does not discharge. And in the current situation, this operation should not be carried out on public roads, where any activity that is not justified is not allowed. But if it can be done in a private garage, it will be enough to remove the negative terminal from the mass to conserve the load for a few weeks.

And it should be borne in mind that many modern cars require entering a code to return to work after connecting it again. In other models, disconnecting the battery causes the electronic system to be deconfigured, which does not start afterwards. For this reason, this operation requires careful consultation of what the vehicle maintenance manual indicates in this regard.

Tires

It is recommended that the tires have a little more pressure than normal, this will prevent them from deforming (maximum 20% more pressure). The ideal, if possible, would be to move the car a few centimeters each week so that it does not always rest on the same area of ​​the wheel. And very importantly, remember to reestablish the correct pressure when it is circulated again.

Hand brake

Do not fully raise the handbrake lever, if it is mechanical, to prevent it from stiffening over time. Leave a gear in place to immobilize the vehicle and, if necessary, block the wheels with chocks for greater safety.

Fuel

It is highly recommended that the tank is always above half its capacity, in this way we will avoid creating sediment or condensation of water, which is very harmful to diesel engines.

BACK TO ACTIVITY

Once the period of inactivity of the vehicle has passed, we must take some measures to start it, obviously the longer the time during which we have not moved the vehicle, the more precautions we must take.

Logically the first thing we should do is reconnect the battery (if we have disconnected it) and check its state of charge, in addition to checking the tire pressure, returning them to normal pressure in case we have chosen to increase the pressure, for the period in which we have not used the vehicle.

Check fluid and fuel levels

It is recommended to check the coolant and engine oil level, in addition to the brake fluid and the gearbox oil. During the check, it is also advisable to check for a possible fuel leak that could have left the tank empty.

Check the straps and their condition

It is advisable to check the condition of all the vehicle's belts or chains, as they could have deteriorated considerably due to the period of inactivity. A broken timing belt can be fatal to a car engine, and its repair is one of the most expensive.

Start the engine progressively

Inactivity in a vehicle is usually synonymous with problems when starting, although this should not become a norm. For this reason, when starting up a car engine that has been idle for a while, we will have to do it progressively and without forcing it to start.

If booting is not immediate and takes time to get the system up and running, forcing it is the least recommended. Make the necessary attempts and never exceed 5 seconds in each of them, otherwise the car's starter motor could be seriously affected.

Keep the car idling for 5-10 minutes

Once we have managed to start the engine, it is very important to keep it idling for 5 or 10 minutes, without accelerating at any time. In this way each and every one of the systems will be put into operation and greased.

Once these 5 or 10 minutes of waiting have elapsed, we can start driving to continue checking that all the elements of the vehicle have adequate behavior while driving.

If the car does not start, use tweezers

If the start-up operation has not been successful, it is recommended to use tweezers to check if the battery is the source of the problem.

While driving, watch out for unconventional noises

It is possible that once we have started with our vehicle after it has been stopped for a long period of time, we may hear metallic noises or squeaks. Depending on whether it is one thing or another, we will have to pay attention to different elements of our car.

In the event that we notice metallic noises, it is advisable to wait a few minutes with the engine running to see if they persist. If so, the most advisable thing is to take the car to the workshop to have it thoroughly checked if any part has suffered premature wear or is seized by rust.

On the contrary, if the noise we perceive is similar to a screeching, it is probably due to wear on one of the vehicle's belts, so they will also have to be individually checked to identify their origin.

Likewise, it is very important to be patient throughout the process and start calmly, as not all vehicles start the first time after a period of inactivity. In addition, other factors such as the weather or the geographical point where our car is located may also influence.

Viewed 6831 times Last modified on Saturday, March 28 2020 15: 56
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