How to clean and maintain your vehicle during a pandemic
There are many things you should be thinking about during the current coronavirus pandemic, and a couple of those things include keeping your vehicle clean and also keeping up with the maintenance of your car. Most people haven’t been doing a lot of driving, but some basic maintenance may be needed, especially for older vehicles. While many automobile shops are open, they are keeping up with social distancing practices, and some are not performing routine procedures that they would typically perform. So if you’re considered an essential worker and must commute, you will want to make sure you are keeping your car as clean as possible. This article will give you some essential maintenance and auto repair tips on how you can do both and remain safe.
Keeping your car clean during the pandemic
Here are some things that you can do to ensure that you are keeping your car clean if you have to drive it. These tips can help limit the chance of spreading the virus.
- Limit where you drive
Think about it: the more places you visit, the more likely you are to interact with someone who has the virus or is a carrier of the virus. You should only go where you have to when you have to.
- Be aware of what you handle when pumping gas
Fuel pumps, as well as the keypads and other surfaces surrounding the gas pump, are dirty and are probably not sanitized regularly. If possible, you should wear gloves when touching these surfaces and then dispose of them and wash or sanitize your hands immediately. Or, if you can, try to find a gas station that has attendants who will pump the gas for you.
- Limit your passengers
Your risk of exposure is increased when you have multiple people getting in and out of your vehicle. The best thing for you to do is to not have any passengers in your car. However, in some cases, such as if you have children, this is unavoidable. But you can try to limit it to one passenger at a time.
- Frequently disinfect the high-contact areas of your car
Every time that you get in and out of your vehicle, you should clean the high-contact areas. These areas include the steering wheel, seatbelt, interior door handles, gear-shift, radio, dashboard, and cup holders. You should also disinfect the places that may be exposed to airborne particles. If you buy groceries and place them on the seat, then you should clean the seat after you get home and unload the groceries. Every person who drives or rides in the vehicle should disinfect the high-touch areas. To make sure surfaces are immaculate, clean them with soap and water before you sanitize them. You should also keep disinfecting wipes in your car for quick and easy wipe downs after use.
- Leave the windows cracked between trips to air your car out
It is believed that the coronavirus can live for about two to three hours in the air. Rolling down your windows and airing out your car for a few minutes daily in between any trips you may take will help reduce the risk of contamination.
- Wash your car
This may seem like common sense, but washing your car is an excellent way to both prevent the spread of the virus and maintain your vehicle. By washing the exterior, you are protecting the paint. And cleaning the interior can help reduce the risk of contracting the virus. Other than disinfecting wipes and soap, you can also use auto-specific cleaners or isopropyl alcohol to clean the interior. Do not use ammonia-based cleaners, bleach, or hydrogen peroxide when cleaning the inside of your car. These could damage the interior of the vehicle.
Vehicle maintenance and essential auto repair tips
When cars sit idle for long periods, they are at risk of damage, including dead batteries, flat spots in tires, and dried out belts. It is wise to drive your car at least one day a week for about 20 minutes. Older vehicles may need to be driven more frequently. Driving your vehicle also ensures that all the moving parts are staying lubricated so that nothing will dry out. Make sure you aren’t leaving anything behind in the car, including beverages, disinfectant wipes, and food. If you can, vacuum the carpet periodically to prevent mildew and nasty odors.
There are some routine checks you can perform on your car at home, just to make sure everything is working as it should. These include:
- Checking the oil
You can check your oil levels at home, using your vehicle’s instruction manual for reference. If the oil is low, you should be able to top it up yourself easily. Changing the oil is a different story. If you have the right tools and know what you’re doing, you can change your oil at home. However, it is best to get your oil changed at a service center. Just call ahead to see if they are open and what guidelines you need to follow.
- Checking the tires
Inspecting your tires is something you can easily do. Look for uneven wear and damage. Check the air pressure in the tires before you drive the vehicle. Make sure you check your spare tire while you’re at it. You can check the tread depth using a quarter. If you are able to see the top of Washington’s head, the tires are still good. If it is barely visible or not visible at all, it’s time to replace them. If you must get a new tire or tires, call first to see if the shop can get the tire you need. Also, inquire about their service hours and social distancing guidelines.
- Checking and replacing air filters
This is another task that can easily be done at home. Look at the underhood air filter as well as the cabin air filter. If they are dirty, you can most likely order replacement filters online. Use your vehicle’s owner manual as a guide to change the filters out.
- Assessing the wipers
Typically, windshield wipers need to be replaced every six months. If you think that yours need to be replaced, you can order them online.
All of the things mentioned above are things you can do at home to keep your car sanitized and perform routine maintenance checks. However, some things, especially maintenance, are best done by professionals at a reliable auto repair shop. Queensbury Auto Repair provides tire replacement, transmission service, oil changes, brake repairs, and battery testing, amongst other services.
The technicians at Queensbury Auto Repair take pictures of everything they do, or any problems they discover so that you can see exactly what is going on and why the repairs are necessary.
If you live in or around Queensbury, NY, then you live in the Car Shoppe’s service area. If you need a problem fixed to get you back on the road, or if you’re past due on maintenance or tired of trying to keep up with it all on your own, then make an online appointment or call The Car Shoppe as soon as possible.