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Things to do when the car is ‘covered’ during the epidemic season


Do not use the car for a long time, the car owner should take note of the battery negative pile, at least 10 m forward / backward, lower the handbrake / turn off the electronic handbrake, use a tire insert…

Social distancing measures were introduced by the Government to limit the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic. Many car owners in this period have little or no car use, it is necessary to pay attention to proper car care to be safe when using it again, or to avoid other damage.

Here are tips for car owners who rarely use their cars during the epidemic season, provided by the technical departments of Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Suzuki in Vietnam:

1. Parking

– Avoid parking in direct sunlight or in the rain. Better to find a covered parking spot. Drivers can equip additional hoods to avoid dust, bird droppings, etc., and at the same time protect the exterior paint. Limit parking under a large tree to prevent the tree from falling.

A car was covered by a broken tree branch after a strong wind on the afternoon of July 19 in Ho Chi Minh City. Image: Pham Trung

– Washing the car can also help protect the paintwork. If the car owner washes the car with a high-pressure hose at home, be sure to keep the hose 40 cm or more away from the painted surface to avoid damage to the paint surface.

2. Batteries

To avoid unnecessary power loss and low battery:

– Turn off all electrical equipment in the car.

– Remove the negative battery terminal if parking for a long time (monthly). With some popular cars, removing the negative stake and re-installing it does not affect anything, but there are also many models, especially luxury cars, which can cause the control software to fail. The best way is that car owners should consult their technicians before deciding to remove the negative battery terminal.

– Run the engine for at least 15 minutes to recharge the battery once a week or every 2-3 days. Avoid starting the engine when the car is parked in an enclosed space such as a basement or indoors because the emissions emitted can have adverse effects on health. Turn off the lights and air conditioner to fully charge the battery.

– Checking the battery status properly gives car owners flexibility in handling urgent situations. For wet batteries, check that the battery fluid level is sufficient or insufficient. For dry batteries, check the color of the battery status indicator.

3. Tires

The contact point between the tire and the road surface can be deformed for a long time.

The contact point between the tire and the road surface can be deformed for a long time.

Tires can be flattened, deformed at the point of contact for a long time and cause vibration and noise when used again. Vehicle owners need:

– Inflate the tires slightly above the standard level if parking for a long time. The driver observes the tire pressure parameters on the tire wall to adjust the appropriate pressure. When using the vehicle again, lower the tire pressure to the manufacturer’s recommended level.

– Every few days to a week, move forward/backward for a distance of at least 10m to “massage” the tire, avoid distortion, cracking and keep the rubber’s elasticity.

4. Engine, gearbox, differential

Engine compartment on a Honda model.  Photo: Doan Dung

The engine compartment on a Honda model. Image: Doan Dung

These parts may not function properly if not adequately lubricated. Drivers need:

– Drive the vehicle forward/backward at least 10m to lubricate the transmission/differential

– Start the engine at under 1,500 rpm for at least 15 minutes

– Step on the accelerator hard at least 10 times to push out the moisture in the exhaust pipe

– Fill fuel tank to limit moisture infiltration.

5. Air conditioner

– Lack of lubrication due to long-term inactivity can cause damage to the air conditioner compressor.

Step 1: Start the engine, turn off the air conditioner and fan

Step 2: Wait for the engine speed to stabilize below 1,000 rpm

Step 3: Turn on the air conditioner and blower at the highest level for at least 2 minutes

– Parking for a long time and keeping the door closed will create conditions for bacteria and mold to grow, causing odors to the car interior. Drivers should turn on the air conditioning system in dehumidifying mode to both help check the operation of the system and help dehumidify the air conditioning system as well as the vehicle interior.

6. Brakes

The car is left unused for a long time, the brakes may be stained, rusted if it is wet and rainy weather.

The car is left unused for a long time, the brakes may be stained, rusted if it is wet and rainy weather.

The surface of the brake disc can be rusty, the brake pads stuck or locked if not used for a long time, especially in rainy and humid weather.

– If there is a large space, the driver runs the car and gently rubs the brake to clean the surface of the brake disc

– For hybrid vehicles, shift to N before applying the brakes. If D is left, the regenerative braking system will put brake energy into the battery, then the energy pushing the brake pads to the brake disc will be reduced, so the contact is loose, the cleaning effect is not much. When returning to N, the brake will be as simple as on a gasoline car, so the cleaning effect is better.

– Lower the handbrake and use the tire inserter. If the vehicle is equipped with an electronic handbrake, deactivate it. With the manual transmission car MT to N, automatic car AT to P. The way to insert the tire is to block the wheel for both directions of the front (left) and rear (right) wheels or vice versa (staggered type).

– Before using again, it is necessary to check the brakes, the most important safety part on the vehicle. When checking, do not start the engine, press the brake pedal 3-4 times to preliminarily check the brake system. If the brake pedal has good elasticity after stuffing, the brake system is normal; Otherwise, you should immediately contact a technical staff for support.

7. Undercarriage and engine compartment

– Regularly check the undercarriage to detect rusty parts or fuel leaks. Use anti-rust spray to protect the parts.

– Regularly check the engine compartment to avoid mice/insects nesting and biting the car’s details. Can be cleaned but avoid using high pressure water hose to spray directly into the engine compartment.

– Check the solutions inside the engine compartment, including: engine lubricating oil; brake fluid, clutch oil (for MT), windshield washer fluid, auxiliary water tank (coolant) and power steering fluid.

8. Furniture

Notes when the car covers the epidemic season - 4 dịch

Tarpaulin is one way to protect paint and interior quality. Image: Nguyen Vu

– Avoid leaving flammable and explosive items in the car such as lighters, water bottles…

– Disconnect unnecessary electrical devices such as dashcams, phone chargers…

Due to the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic and the social distancing order, many car dealerships in provinces and cities have temporarily suspended operations. However, dealers said that there are 1-2 technical staff on duty to prevent emergencies. This is the focal point for car owners to contact for support and advice when needed.

Thanh Nhan

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