The present moment is resulting in changes to the way we live, work, and take care of business. Routine tasks we used to take for granted, or perhaps considered a slight nuisance, now may range from highly difficult to impossible. One of the most pressing concerns for people during this pandemic is fear of making decisions with insufficient information.
Many of our clients, as well as our own friends and family, are wondering about vehicle maintenance during this time. What maintenance needs are required for parked vehicles? What qualifies as an essential repair for those still driving? As an experienced personal injury law firm based in the DFW metroplex, we’ve seen our fair share of vehicle damage. Our experience has taught us the value of keeping our cars, trucks, and suvs in great condition. Our vehicles’ roadworthiness can really be the difference between life and death when you take these machines out on the road.
Read on for seven top tips regarding essential parked car maintenance, and three main pieces of advice for getting the expert products and services for necessary repairs during this tumultuous period.
Thompson Law is available to help answer your questions throughout this coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Our office remains fully functional and available at 214-444-4444. Although we are not currently accepting in-person appointments and our employees are working remotely, we can address any of your questions over the phone, via chat, or through a webform submission on our website. Further, we can sign you up electronically and help facilitate getting you the medical care you require. Please reach out and see what we can do for you.
1. Exercise Your Car – It may sound obvious, but cars are designed to be driven! If automobiles are left to sit in garages or parking spaces for weeks and months, the interacting components that make the vehicle run smoothly, from belts to the battery, can start to corrode, break down, or even rot. Do not set your parking break during extended sitting periods, as the pads can seize to the drum, resulting in problems later on. To combat ill effects, it’s recommended you take your car out for at least a 20-minute or 10-mile drive a couple of times a month. This will help to lubricate and move component parts that need agitation to stay in good shape, and keep your battery charged!
2. Wash Your Car – Keeping a car clean of debris and dirt is not just for the sake of vanity! Removing corrosive substances from the surface of your vehicle serves an important purpose. Particularly if the regional shutdowns impacted your ability to give your car a post-winter spring-cleaning, now is the time. Getting sand and salt debris off the undercarriage of your car, truck or SUV is essential to keeping the underside of your vehicle free of rust. If you have a driveway or garage with space that allows washing, it could even be a great workout option for you to give your car a wash and wax treatment!
3. Change Your Oil – One option is to save some cash and DIY this task. If this maintenance is beyond your skill level or you simply don’t have time while working from home and caring for your family, there are shops open to provide this service. See the section below for tips on where to go for pros who can help you without compromising your safe physical distancing.
4. Replace Burned Out Bulbs – It’s a violation to drive with burned-out exterior bulbs, so certainly get those taken care of if any of your signal, brake, or headlights are out. Check online for manufacturer instructions for the type of bulb you need, and be sure to purchase those with an appropriate “DOT” or “SAE” stamp on them. This ensures that you are using products in compliance with safety laws. Some extra care for the interior lights in your car could also make a big difference right now. While you have a little more time on your hands, take advantage and make your favorite automobile a little more hospitable with some upgraded LED interior lights.
5. Take Care of Your Tires – Worn tire treads are never safe to drive on, as these structures and shapes of your tires are what create traction that keeps all 4, 6 or 18 wheels securely gripping the road. Particularly as we face April showers this month, you want any rainy day driving to be as safe as possible with good tire tread. If you need tire repair or replacement, some tire shops remain open as an essential business during this time.
If you are maintaining your tires to park your car at home, experts suggest filling the tires slightly above their regular PSI and parking your tires on wood instead of a cool cement garage floor which can decrease the air pressure.
6. Deter Creatures from Visiting & Nesting – If a car is parked for a long time, particularly as temperatures rise through the spring, critters of all kinds may find it a cool, dry, and appealing place to make a home. This can be extremely destructive, with animals chewing away at wires and belts, resulting in serious and expensive damage. It can be even uglier if the critters die in your vehicle, leaving you with a real mess.
Don’t leave snacks or foods sitting in your car for long, especially if they have been opened. Wash the exterior clear of debris like dirt and leaves that can make the crevices of your car or truck that much more appealing to critters. By keeping your car clean on the inside and outside you reduce your risk of mold or creatures taking over your car while you were away.
7. Professional Maintenance for Essentials – If you are continuing to drive as an essential worker, caretaker, or simply to accommodate important trips to places like the pharmacy and grocery, don’t forgo important vehicle safety measures due to COVID-19. Social distancing and hygiene measures are important, but if your car needs maintenance or repairs to run safely, reach out to your local auto shop for help coordinating these services. The next section includes local resources and tips to do this without exposing yourself to risky circumstances.
For the car care maintenance that you can’t do from your own home, there are some shops and facilities that are succeeding more than others in practicing safe hygiene and utilizing no-contact methods at this time. While our communities cope with the present climate, and balance priorities providing critical services while decreasing opportunities for risk, it is important to ensure that cleanliness and safety is consistently a top priority. Below are three strategies you can use practicing safe car care errands and some locations succeeding at these physical distancing efforts!
1. Drop-Box Drop-Off – Contactless appointments and delivery are more prevalent than ever before. Drop-box drop-off has long been an option for mechanic and dealership shops, particularly during after-hours, but now more than ever there is good reason to take advantage of this convenient no-touch system at any time of day. Some shops are even providing contactless pickup and delivery of your vehicle. Plus, mobile mechanics can also come to you, providing contactless service at your appointment.
2. No Contact Oil Change – If the DIY route is not an option for you, professional oil changes are still a possibility. Take 5 Oil Change has locations all over the metroplex and has for years provided fast and convenient service, while customers simply wait in the car. This is a great option right now, and extra safe as customers only need to crack the car window to take care of payment.
The Lion Law team has taken advantage of this cool service back when our Oak Lawn office location was open as usual, with a Take 5 location right around the corner at Lemmon Avenue and Throckmorton Street in Dallas.
3. Order Supplies Online – While needless shopping out of boredom is not a great choice right now, as it puts delivery drivers and other workers at unnecessary risk, some purchases of car supplies are important for safety. Major retailers like AutoZone are offering free next day delivery or curbside pickup. Another great option may be to support local businesses. Call your local auto supply store or visit their website to see what safe shopping options you can take advantage of while patronizing their business.
Even while so many of us shelter-in-place, there are many vehicles still hitting the road each day to deliver critical products and provide essential services. Whether you are caring for a parked car during quarantine or maintaining your car for roadworthiness to do essential work, be sure to take care with choices you make for maintenance.
Keep your car in safe running order, but if this task involves going out for service or repair, be careful to practice social distancing in that process. Wear a mask, wash your hands as often as you can, and sterilize objects you bring home. Stay safe friends.
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Statute of Limitations Notice:
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Texas is two years, so if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. The sooner you know your options, the sooner you are on the path to recovery and your deserved compensation. Call the 4’s right away for assistance with your injury and claim:
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