With widespread stay-at-home orders and everyone driving less, it can be difficult to know how to maintain your vehicle. Just because you aren’t driving doesn’t mean you can slack on your vehicle’s maintenance. It’s important to continue maintaining your car so that when you do drive, you know it will still be as reliable as ever. The Mills Toyota team has some helpful tips to keep your car healthy even when you aren’t putting as many miles on it.
Use a Calendar Schedule
Some maintenance items like oil changes are based on mileage or time. Usually, your technician will tell you that you need to change your oil every 3 months or 3,000 miles. This varies by vehicle, but the important thing to remember is that if you don’t reach 3,000 miles by the end of the 3 month period, you should still change your oil. Time as well as driving can affect the effectiveness of your car’s oil and should be replaced using the “whichever comes first” rule for maintenance.
Wash It Often
Paint can be one of the most expensive things on your vehicle to repair and a good quality paint job can easily exceed $5,000 if you don’t maintain it properly. As dust, debris, bird droppings, sap, and other contaminants fall onto your paint, they can become embedded in the finish and do permanent damage. Sun fade is another concern, especially if you park your vehicle outside for an extended period of time. Regular washing and waxing can prevent damage. You’ll also want to detail your interior often to keep it smelling fresh.
Every few days, you should start your car, and if possible, take it for a short drive. Starting the car often will move the fluids around, lubricate the engine, protect the seals, and recharge your battery. Driving it and allowing it to come all the way to operating temperature (so that the coolant flows freely), will help prevent corrosion since coolant has properties that prevent rust and other types of corrosion. Allowing the alternator to recharge the battery keeps your battery healthy and will prolong its life. Driving your car also protects the tires. If the wheels don’t rotate and the weight of the vehicle presses on the same spot for an extended period of time, they could actually develop a flat spot, which will create dangerous and uncomfortable driving conditions.
Keep it Covered
Keeping your car out of the elements is one of the best ways to protect it. Even if you don’t have a garage, you can use a carport or car cover to protect the car from the sun, wind, and debris. A sunshade in the front window can prevent discoloration and damage to your dashboard, steering wheel, and seats. Keeping your tires covered can help prevent dry rotting.
If you don’t plan on driving your car much, it’s important to take steps to prevent it from needing expensive repairs when you do drive it again. Simple steps can protect the interior, exterior, and engine from damage due to not being used as it normally would. For more tips on how to keep up your car maintenance on a vehicle you aren’t using much, contact the Mills Toyota Service Department today.