When was the last time you drove your car?
For a lot of people, it could be weeks — or even months — as we all practice social distancing and stay home, and experts say, that could lead to some expensive problems.
The NBC4 I-Team spoke to local mechanics who said a lot of families are only driving one car right now to run errands and their other car has been sitting around, getting dusty.
“Nobody’s going anywhere, right?” said Will Kaufman, a Content Strategist for Edmunds. “People are trying to stay home, they’re trying to maintain social distancing—getting groceries delivered, so nobody’s driving their cars.”
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Kaufman says if your car has been sitting for too long, the first problem you may notice is a dead battery.
“For your battery dying, there’s an easy fix. You just need a jumper box. That’s something you can get online pretty easily and they’re very easy to use," he said.
Your car also probably needs a wash. And some of that dirt and grime may be more than just a cosmetic problem.
“Bird droppings are highly acidic,” said Kaufman. “So they can etch away at the clear coat that’s been put on top of the actual pigmented paints on top of your car. And that clear coat, if it gets damaged, you’ll maybe start to see some cloudiness and if it goes on too long, the clear coat can actually start to strip away.”
Kaufman recommends using a damp towel to gently wipe off any droppings.
Tires are another item that can develop a problem if your car sits stationary.
“Tires can flat-spot. Which literally means it’s just rubber that’s been sitting on one spot for a long time, so it sort of flattens out. That can cause a problem with the durability of the tire," he said.
One last problem: rodents. It is not uncommon for them to climb into the engine compartment and start chewing through wires. That type of problem could cost you thousands of dollars in repairs.
However, Kaufman says there is one easy thing you can do, right now, to prevent most issues.
“The best advice is to just use your car as it was intended. Once every two weeks, get in it and drive it for a little while. We recommend at least 20 to 30 minutes," he said.