For many drivers, car maintenance will have to take a backseat during this period.
I missed my own servicing appointment because it was scheduled for April 7. That was when the enhanced social-distancing measures began.
Even washing and detailing my own car is not a valid reason for leaving the house. I’ve been told that it could land me in trouble.
That said, some simple car maintenance is necessary. After all, many of us will need to leave the house to go grocery shopping.
Here are five simple maintenance tasks you can do alone during this period.
CHECK YOUR ENGINE OIL LEVEL
Motor oil is necessary for the car to run. Checking it weekly as part of car maintenance is not unreasonable, especially if you do it just before you drive off.
With the car on level ground and the engine still cold, pull out the dipstick (the one with a yellow ring) carefully and wipe it clean. Then re-insert it all the way before pulling it back out.
Check that the oil level is between the “L” and “H” markings. If it is, great. But if it’s below “L”, you need to top up.
Consult the owner’s manual, too. Some manufacturers require the engine to be run first before oil levels are checked.
CHECK AND CLEAN THE BATTERY TERMINALS
Part of proper car maintenance is inspecting your battery terminals.
While the bonnet’s open, all you need to do is check that there’s no corrosion here.
This next step is very important!
If you need to wipe down the terminals, remove the negative cable first, followed by the positive one. Replace the positive cable first and the negative one last.
TOP-UP YOUR WASHER FLUID
Driving around with a dirty windscreen is unsafe. But keeping it clean by washing it might land you in trouble. So, for now, using the washers is the only option.
However, water alone cannot help, especially if the dirt has been sitting there a while. Adding a washer additive with greatly increase the cleaning power.
CHECK AND INSPECT YOUR TYRES
Part of good car maintenance is giving your tyres a visual inspection to ensure there are no cracks or tears.
While the tyres are cold, check if they’re correctly inflated. If you have a portable air pump, inflate them if necessary. Don’t forget the spare tyre as well.
DRIVE YOUR CAR ONCE A WEEK
We do not recommend going out unnecessarily. But we all have to shop for essential supplies weekly.
Take this chance to drive your vehicle for 30 to 40 minutes. That will give the alternator a chance to recharge the battery.
The “exercise” is good for your engine and is considered part of car maintenance as well.
Again, we emphasise that while doing this, do not stop and alight to visit places. Just drive it and head home once you’re done.