Engaging the handbrake when the car is parked for a long period can result in jamming of the brake. So, park the car in gear instead. A smarter thing to do would be to place chocks, say, a piece of wood or stone, before the wheels to prevent the vehicle from rolling away.
Run the engine: Vehicles work best when they keep running. During this lockdown, the likelihood of limited movement should definitely be a cause for concern. So, start your vehicle every few days and operate all the systems, including the air conditioner. This will help keep it in good shape.
You will also need to change the engine oil. Used motor oil contains chemicals and additives that can damage the mechanical parts over time. So, it is best to put in clean fluid before putting the car away. In addition, start your car occasionally to allow the oil to flow around the engine.
Also, move your car forward and backward to keep it from remaining stationary for too long. This will also help avert flat spots on the tyres.
Check fuel and coolant levels: It is advisable to keep the fuel tank filled up during this period. This will prevent the accumulation of moisture in the fuel tank. It will also keep the vital seals from drying and prevent rusting in the long run. The same holds true for the coolant, which should be swapped before storing the car. Make sure you add the right amount of antifreeze, depending on the make and the model of your car.
Protect your vehicle from rodents: Rodents can damage the vehicle by chewing on the wiring and other plastic components of the car. To protect your car from rodents, park it in a clean space and move your car slightly forward and backward every three-four days.
Wax it: If you want that your car should shine as if it is new, in the absence of a car cover, make sure to protect the paint with wax and seal it before parking it. This will prolong the longevity of the paint even in the face of dust, dirt and other contaminants.
Clean the cabin: Your car is likely to miss good ventilation in the cabin for the duration of the lockdown. So, it’s a good idea to remove any leftovers like food wrappers or knick-knacks to prevent foul odours. So, dust and vacuum the interiors thoroughly, including the muddy bits like the carpets and floor mats. And as a precautionary measure, disinfect the cabin as well to avoid falling prey to the COVID-19 contagion. Determine the spots you touch most often and disinfect them most thoroughly.
Renew motor policy:
Car owners must ensure they renew their motor insurance
policies on time even in these challenging times to safeguard themselves from unforeseen circumstances once the lockdown period is over. An active motor insurance
policy will not only benefit the owners in post-lockdown servicing but will also guarantee them peace of mind.
While all these steps will help your car tide over the lockdown, ensure you take it for servicing once things return to normal. Given the current situation, many automakers have already announced warranty/free-service extensions by a few months. So, check with the manufacturer outlet and take advantage of the extension.
Ensure your car stays in prime condition
Start the car once a week and run it for 10-15 minutes. Alternatively, disconnect the battery from the negative terminal
Instead of engaging the handbrake, place chocks before the wheels to prevent the car from rolling away on its own
Keep the fuel tank filled up to avoid moisture accumulation
Do not park your car on a slope or under a large tree
Keep it in an area that is under CCTV surveillance, or where you can see it from your house
The writer is chief, underwriting, claims and reinsurance, ICICI Lombard