During extended lockdown in Zimbabwe, it is critical that motorists – and motorcyclists – ensure your vehicles keep moving after standing idle.
Any vehicle that is left unused for a while may develop issues that require intervention to get running normally again. But the hassle of wanting to start a vehicle when the battery is drained, or driving on uneven wheels, may be alleviated with some proper home care. Vehicle owners should do the following if your vehicles are going to be unused for the next couple of weeks:
Cover the vehicle:
If possible, park the vehicle indoors, under a roof, or use a car cover. Doing this will ensure it stays cleaner (and safer). Do not use a car cover if you are parking the vehicle in a garage, as any moisture inside will evaporate faster.
While it may be better to remove the entire battery, disconnecting the negative terminal will also suffice. Be careful when doing this and ensure you are wearing protective eyewear and gloves, and that you have the right tools for the job. Always disconnect the negative terminal first, then the positive terminal. Never touch the terminals together. Rubbing petroleum jelly on the terminals after they have been removed will prevent rust from setting in and help you moving when driving again.
Clean the vehicle before storage:
Dirt on the vehicle may cause permanent damage if left untreated, especially for a few weeks. This is the ideal time to properly clean your vehicle inside and outside before storage. Use approved cleaning agents on all interior and exterior surfaces, don’t wash your vehicle in direct sunlight, and dry it thoroughly before storage.
Cover the intakes and outlets:
If possible cover the air intakes with a cloth, and stuff a rag in the exhaust outlet. This will prevent insects and small rodents from getting in there. REMEMBER TO REMOVE THESE BEFORE YOU START THE VEHICLE AFTER STORAGE. LEAVE YOURSELF A NOTE ON THE STEERING WHEEL TO REMIND YOU.
Wiper blades are an essential safety feature on vehicles. To prevent the rubber of the blades sticking to the windshield, place plastic wrap under the blades first. Do the same for any back wipers.
Insurance and Warranty Care:
If you have insurance or aftermarket insurance products for your vehicle do not cancel these for the period of the lockdown. Not only will this impact on any no-claims rewards, but you may also be flouting the terms of your lease or purchase agreements if you cancel now. Another consideration is that you may have to use the vehicle in an emergency if you cancel your insurance now, you will not be covered if something were to happen even on a “short” outing.
“The current lockdown period is scheduled to end on Sunday, 17th May.
However, if the lockdown period is extended – as has happened with our regional neighbours – further steps may be necessary to protect your vehicle and keep it moving. These include:
Fill up on fuel:
It may seem counter-intuitive to have a tank full of fuel in a vehicle that is sitting idle but the science behind this tip is sound. A full fuel tank will prevent rust from forming on the inside by keeping moisture from entering the tank. Ensure the tank is properly sealed. Also, consider installing a long-range fuel tank after the lockdown.
This is really for long-term storage. If the vehicle is standing idle for a long period, flat spots may occur on the wheels. To prevent this, jack all the tyres off the ground or position the vehicle on blocks of wood all around. The idea is to keep all the tyres off the ground. Check tyre pressure is normal after storage and adjust to manufacturer levels as soon as possible after storage.
Drain the oil from the vehicle before long-term storage. After storage put in fresh oil, and change oil and air filters as soon as possible.
Change spark plugs to keep you moving:
Removing spark plugs may also prevent rust forming. However, if you are unsure of how to do this leave them in and get an expert to check them as soon as possible after resuming normal use.
“Having a reliable vehicle is essential and should not be taken for granted. If you are leaving your vehicle unused for a long period, it will still require some maintenance. Do not assume that an unused vehicle is going to start first time weeks after it was last used if it is not properly cared for during the lockdown,”
Hope these tips will help you keep moving after the lock down.
For technical advice and pricing on vehicle batteries, lubricants, engine additives, etc., email Tom at email@example.com
Sean and Tom
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