HOW TO START A CAR AFTER A LONG TIME STOPPED: The COVID-19 crisis has forced us to stop the rhythm of daily life. Although during the weeks of state of alarm many people have continued to use the car, either to work, to do the shopping, or to assist an elderly relative, there are also those who, thanks to teleworking and local shops, have parked their car for a while. With the de-escalation, these cars will soon be on the road again. If this is your case, take note of these tips before circulating again.
These are the six most important things to check before driving a vehicle that has been parked for a long time:
1. Liquid levels
This is one of the reviews that must be done periodically. Contrary to what you may think, even if you do not use your car for a season, fluids can decrease as it has happened now. Among other things, due to atmospheric conditions. The first check that you must carry out is to check if liquid remains on the floor. Subsequently, you should look at the levels of the following fluids (see how to do it in your vehicle’s manual):
- Brake fluid
- Glass cleaner
2. Battery status
The battery is the main harmed by inactivity. If the car does not start directly, nor do the lights on the dashboard light up, it is most likely that it has been discharged. You will need some electric tweezers to recharge it using another vehicle’s battery or an external battery charger.
It is important to check that they all work. You already know what they are:
If one of your tires is flat, you will quickly notice. After having the car stopped, you may find it on the ground. But watch out for the wheels. At first glance, they may seem subtle, but don’t play it. Go to the gas station and check that they have the correct pressure level. It is very dangerous to drive with the wheels without adequate pressure. The manufacturer of your car will have put a label somewhere on the vehicle where it indicates the pressure at which those of each axle should be depending on the vehicle’s load. It can also come in the car manual.
In passing, check that the tires are not worn. You already know the trick: take a 1 euro coin. If the tire’s relief exceeds the gold outline of the coin (min. 1.6 mm), everything is fine. If you don’t, it’s time to renew them.
5. Operation of the brakes
It is essential to make sure that the brakes work correctly. Pay close attention to the dashboard as soon as you start, in case any brake-related warning lights come on. Then walk a few meters to check that the brakes are responding adequately.
6. Control panel indicators
The control panel of a vehicle can have, especially in newer cars, dozens of indicators with all kinds of indications: from the activation of the handbrake to the brake fluid level to the temperature of the coolant. We must check that no warning lights are activated, indicating failure or lack of supply. Don’t forget to check the vehicle’s user manual if you don’t know the witnesses’ meaning.
These are three common breakdowns after having the vehicle immobilized for some time:
Possible breakdowns after a period of inactivity
In modern vehicles, a couple of months of inactivity should not affect them; prolonged parking’s adverse effects would arrive at about a year. However, the same does not happen in vehicles with several years old for which a few months of inactivity could have essential consequences since, for example, some parts of the car can be damaged when not being used. These are three of the most frequent breakdowns:
The battery is one of the elements most affected by the inactivity of a car. In addition to being discharged, it can suffer from sulfated terminals. It happens precisely when the battery is not recharged periodically and when it gets too hot, or the components are not correctly tightened. If this is the case in our vehicle, what should we do?
- Get a new battery, If the effect is on the entire battery.
- If only the terminals are affected, we can clean them in the following way: Remove the battery. Dilute an envelope of bicarbonate in half a glass of water and apply it with a brush on the terminals. At the end of the cleaning, rinse with clean water. Gloves and protective glasses must always be worn throughout the process.
Beyond the loss of pressure, if we have not regularly taken the precaution of moving the vehicle slightly to modify the tires’ support point, the tires could have been deformed by supporting the weight of the vehicle always at the same point. It is essential to check and change them in case of detecting irregularities.
Air conditioning malfunction
For our car’s air conditioning system to work well, it must be activated regularly, even if only for a few minutes. When starting up, the refrigerant gas begins to circulate, and thus all the elements of the circuit are kept lubricated. After a long period of inactivity, a fault may occur in some part of the circuit.
Remember to go to a professional if you have any questions about vehicle failures, especially those that may affect the vehicle’s safety on the road. With your car fully operational, enjoy the road with the usual prevention.
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HOW TO START A CAR AFTER A LONG TIME STOPPED
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