AAA Northeast: Your car needs a 'workout' during extended off-road periods

As most of us started working from home, we have stopped depending on our vehicles. However, AAA Northeast says that you shouldn't ignore simple maintenance during this time.
Depending upon how long your vehicle sits, things can happen: dead batteries, stale fuel, rusty brakes, even critters nesting in vehicle nooks and crannies.
“For those of us who have time to catch up on things we’ve overlooked or ignored in the past, now is a good time to get ‘cranking’ on car maintenance,” said AAA Northeast spokeswoman Fran Mayko.
AAA Northeast offers these tips to keep your vehicle running properly during extended off-road periods:
- Fill your tank and add a gasoline stabilizer to help extend the life of fuel and prevent the buildup of condensation.
- Inflate the tires to manufacturer recommendations to prevent flat spots. The correct pressure is found on a placard on the driver-side door and in your owner’s manual.
- Take your vehicle for a spin for at least 30 minutes once a week to "exercise" the moving parts and help maintain the battery.
- Make sure your battery terminals are clean, tight, and free of corrosion. A paste of baking soda and water on a toothbrush works wonders.
- You might hear a slight grinding noise from your brakes. This is nothing more than surface rust, accumulated from being parked for a time.
- Lubricate your door locks, hinges, even the hood and gas tank releases with a silicone spray. Skip the penetrating oil, which is only good for rusty nuts and bolts.
- Since you’re not driving as much, and depending upon where you park, your car may become a new home for mice and other critters that can chew wires. Check with your local auto repair or supply store for the appropriate product that will deter these animals.
- Don’t ignore needed maintenance such as oil and fluid changes. Service recommendations generally are based on time, not just mileage. So, if your car requires an oil change every six months or 7,000 miles, you should have the oil replaced and vital fluids checked, regardless if you’ve driven the 7,000.
- And finally, just because you’re not using your vehicle regularly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep the exterior free of acid rain and bird droppings that can damage the finish. An afternoon spent washing, vacuuming and waxing your vehicle will help maintain its value and as a bonus, burns about 1,000 calories.