DIY Maintenance Tips to Protect Your Car During COVID-19

At a time when gas prices are lower than they’ve been in years, it’s a shame people can’t take full advantage of the savings due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  With stay-at-home orders in place, travel restrictions, and many businesses closed, most people are heeding Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ mandate, and they are not going anywhere.

When an automobile is forced to sit idle for weeks at a time, issues can arise that have negative effects on its ability to operate properly. From the battery to the tires, it is important to stay cognizant of the problems that occur with these critical components when a vehicle sits idle for weeks on end.

These helpful DIY maintenance tips will help keep your automobile protected during the COVID-19 outbreak; and prepared for when the stay-at-home order is lifted and people, once again, venture out on Tampa Bay area roadways.

The Battery

Vehicles will not function without the all-important battery. Lead-acid batteries are the electrical component that powers cars, trucks and SUV’s, and it loses its charge gradually, up to 5% each day when it’s connected, due to the Florida heat.

If you’re not driving as much, thanks to the coronavirus, your car battery will easily lose its charge, which can render you stranded at home.

If you own a vehicle, or more than one, automotive experts advise that your weekly trip to the grocery store and pharmacy may not be enough for the alternator to charge the battery. It is recommended that you run your car at highway speed for 20 minutes every two weeks to keep the battery charged.

If that is not possible, schedule a reminder to regularly start the engine of each automobile you own, and let it/them run for several minutes to fully warm the engine. If you do own more than one car, alternate which vehicle you use to run your errands.

If you have canceled your insurance and have your car in storage, it would be wise to invest in a simple battery maintainer to keep it from discharging while in storage.

The Oil and Gas

Following your auto manufacturer’s recommendation for regular oil changes using oil of the proper viscosity for the engine. It is critical that you check the oil between oil changes, as well, because when oil levels decline, it causes damage to the remaining oil being used by your engine, which takes a toll.

Auto owners who are not driving should top-off their gas tank, as well, according to David Holecek, Complete Auto Service manager in Kansas City. “If you plan on storing your car for a couple weeks, or up to 30 days, you should probably fill the gas tank all the way up. That helps prevent moisture buildup that would get in your fuel system and then maybe affect the drivability of the car when you do go to use it again.”

The Tires

When a vehicle sits idle for extended periods of time, surfaces like cement will gradually drain the air pressure. Over a matter of weeks, that pressure can become too low to safely drive, so it is best to regularly check the psi (air pressure) required for your tires and stop at Holiday Shell to air-up!

If your vehicle is going to be sitting for an extended period of time in your driveway, garage, on your street or in storage, David suggests you increase the recommended air pressure by 5 psi or higher and parking it with wooden blocks beneath the tires, to help maintain the psi. You will find the psi specs for your vehicle on the inside of the driver-side door, or in your owner’s manual.

The Brakes

The most crucial components of a vehicle are the brakes. They are designed with pads, rotars and drums. Auto owners should not set the parking brake when their vehicle is going to be parked for more than 30 days, because it will cause the pads and shoes to seize to the drum or rotor, which will prove problematic when you drive it, according to David.

The Interior & Exterior

Even if you are not driving your car at this time, you should strive to keep it clean, inside and out! The interiors and exteriors of automobiles are designed with a variety of surfaces that collect sand, dust, dirt, pollen, food, spills, pet hair and more.

Cleanliness is the key word these days. Make a habit of cleaning the inside of your car on a regular basis to keep it looking nice, and smelling great, while preventing mold build-up. Remember to wipe down the steering wheel and gear shift handles, which receive the most frequent touches and are typically quite dirty.

The exterior of cars also consist of a variety of surfaces: rubber seals, plastic mirrors, fiberglass bumpers…you get the picture. A car wash will keep your car looking great and will improve its longevity. Car washes remove environmental contaminants, road grime, engine oils, tar, pollen and other particulates,  which can cause damage to the clear coat, paint, metal, plastic and other exterior surfaces.

Holiday Shell is conveniently located at the corner of Sunray Dr and US Hwy 19, and serves as your one-stop shop in West Pasco County for a car wash, vacuum, air, gas, oil, windshield washer and other engine fluids. Aside from these, we offer a wide selection of popular everyday items like fresh coffee, ice cold beverages, CBD oils and edibles, vaping products, household goods, office services and more.

Holiday Shell is open 24/7/365, and is available to provide basic automotive products and office services needed by US Hwy 19 commuters, North and South from Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson, Tarpon Springs, Palm Harbor, and all surrounding areas.


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