Today would have been the last day of the Movement Control Order (MCO) issued by the government to control the spread of COVID-19 virus. That was before the government had decided that the situation was still not satisfactory and prolonged the MCO to 14 April 2020, with stricter movement control; some areas are subjected to an Extended MCO due to a high number of cases.
And like many of us, you probably also have been spending the past two weeks working from home because of the MCO. This means your car (or cars), has been rarely started and hardly moved. And if you have prepared well for the MCO, you would technically have no need to drive out to get any food or supplies. But even if you have been driving out every few days, it is still advisable to follow the tips below to keep your car in good condition. PROTON has conveniently shared a pictorial for easy reference.
Your car’s battery is needed to crank the engine and provide power to some components. The battery gets its charge from the alternator which is run by the engine when the car is driven about. Leaving your car unused means the battery continues to be drained. PROTON recommends to start your car periodically, at least once every week.
Running the car’s engine for at least 10 minutes once in a while will allow the alternator to charge the battery and maintain its condition so that it has sufficient amperage to crank the engine in the future when we all go back to a more normal life.
However, while your car’s engine is running to charge the battery, keep everything else in the car shut off i.e. radio, air-conditioning, handphone charging etc. This is to allow the focus to be on charging the battery and not stress it out with additional power draw. Once you’re done, don’t forget to lock your vehicle.
Check on your tyres regularly during this period of non-movement. When your vehicle is left parked in the same spot, not moved for many days, there is a risk of developing flat spots on the tyres. This could be accelerated by the hot weather, and especially if your car is parked outdoors. Flat-spotting the tyres means the shape will be distorted and you will experience vibrations when you drive. Therefore, it is advisable to move your car from its spot and then re-park it just to allow it to come to a rest on a different section of the tyre. You can do this when you go to start your car to take care of the battery.
Another thing to check is the tyre pressure as tyres will lose some air over time. You can check with a tyre pressure gauge, or if you have one of the new vehicles (like the X70), the onboard Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). You can re-inflate your tyres when you drive out for supplies or food.
If you leave your vehicle parked outside in the sun, now is a good time to practice lifting the windshield wipers up. As the car remains stationary for days out in the open, the sun exposure and heat will degrade your wiper blades and cause them to harden. Your wipers will still wipe, it just won’t clear the water off as effectively. Just remember to put the wipers back down before you drive.
It is good practice especially now to sanitise all the major surfaces in the car that you come into contact with. After each drive, wipe down these surfaces with disinfectant e.g. steering wheel, door handles, window and door switches, gear lever, radio, touchscreen etc. For touchscreens, please refer to your vehicle’s manual for proper care.