Consumer Watch: How to keep your car running during the COVID-19 crisis

Tuesday, May 12, 2020
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With many of us working remotely, odds are your car has seen a dip in its average mileage.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- With many of us working remotely, odds are your car has seen a dip in its average mileage.

But while your car spends more time in the driveway than on the highway, Consumer Reports says there are a number of steps you should take to keep your vehicle running smoothly.

"Even if you have nowhere to go, you still want to be driving your car around town for about 20 minutes each week. This will keep your battery charged, and prevent rust from building up on the brakes and calipers from seizing up," said Jeff Bartlett with Consumer Reports.

And while you might be tempted to top off your tank with gas prices so low, Consumer Reports says you should only do so if you need the fuel.

"If you think your car will end up with the same fuel in the tank for more than three months, completely fill your car up at the gas station, and add the appropriate amount of fuel stabilizer, which will help keep the fuel from breaking down over time."

There are also a number of simple maintenance checks you can perform from home. Before taking your weekly drive, check your oil on a level surface while the engine is cool. And while you're under the hood, make sure your engine's air filter is clean and free of excessive dirt or debris. Same goes for your cabin air filter.

What if you receive a recall notice for your vehicle? Consumer Reports says minor recalls can be put off during the coronavirus crisis, but bigger issues should be addressed.

"If it's a recall for something that could put you in harm's way, like an airbag defect, mechanical issue, or risk of fire, you should stop driving the vehicle right away and contact your dealer," Bartlett said.

Make sure to ask the dealer about their current policies for disinfecting vehicles, and be sure to clean the surfaces of your vehicle with solutions that contain at least 70% isopropyl alcohol, or soap and water.