Returning to the roads: Car care post-lockdown

Returning to the roads: Car care post-lockdown

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Over the last two years of statewide lockdowns, many Aussie families inadvertently neglected their family cars simply because they suddenly had no need for them.

There were increased accounts of car batteries dying prematurely due to a lack of use over weeks or months spent in lockdown, and drivers, truckers, and motorcyclists alike experienced a myriad of other surprising impacts that lockdowns held over their vehicles.

This prompted consumers to empty shelves of car care products across the country, and for local mechanics and car washes to be inundated with bookings upon lockdowns lifting.

An unprecedented demand for car care specialists has prompted many car owners to go DIY with their post-lockdown car care due to a lack of available appointments.

This has, in turn, allowed many young drivers to engage with basic car maintenance and car care responsibilities, learning valuable skills in real-world settings.

Here's a brief overview of some of the skills that younger drivers are picking up during their explorations of car care post-lockdown.

Going from the shed to the street

Naturally, when your car has been sitting in the garage for weeks or months at a time, it'll likely be covered in a dense coating of dirt and dust.

For this reason, it's imperative that you give your car a good scrub before you reverse out of your driveway and head off to your first day out after lockdowns lift in your state.

Using a microfibre cloth with some foam wash can help remove dirt from the body of your car, and a pressure washer can then be used to remove stubborn build-ups of dirt and dust in crevices and inside your wheels. This should then be followed by wiping down windows with a quality car glass cleaner to ensure minimal streaks are left on your windscreen and other windows.

Cleaning your car's interiors should also be included in this preliminary list of car maintenance essentials. As thoroughly clearing out your car's cabin may take some time, you don't want to wait until you've settled back into your regular pre-lockdown routine.

Car battery assessments and other necessary maintenance

As mentioned above, car battery assessments are imperative when coming out of lockdown, specifically because batteries can die prematurely due to infrequent driving. You can test your car's battery with the use of a multimeter or simply by scheduling an appointment with your local mechanic for a professional battery assessment or replacement if this is needed.

If you're unable to schedule an appointment with your mechanic and do not have access to a multimeter, a good indicator that your car battery may be weak or dying is dimness or flickering in your car's headlights and brake lighting.

You may also hear some slight clicking when turning your car on, or some delays with starting up your engine if your car battery is going bad. Be sure to look for these telltale signs of a weak car battery, and avoid driving your car if you've noticed any of these traits, as there is a strong chance your car battery may need replacing.

As well as a car battery assessment and replacement, you may find that your car also requires new bulbs for its external lights, and that your brake pads have been worn down over time and may be in need of a replacement themselves.

If you feel that your car requires extensive maintenance work with your mechanic, be sure to take note of all the elements that you'd like to have assessed and schedule an appointment with your car specialist prior to heading out on the road once more.

At-home car checks to perform regularly

Finally, it's imperative that you get into the habit of running routine car care checks on your family vehicle even when it's not in use, to minimise risks of avoidable damage and subsequent injuries or insurance concerns.

There are some easy checks that you can perform on your car right at home that include checking your oil and transmission fluid levels, water levels, and the pressure of your tyres.

By consistently conducting these at-home checks, you won't just be keeping you and your family safe on the road, but you'll also innately be sharing positive car ownership habits with your children or any other soon-to-be drivers, and demonstrating the responsibilities that accompany the privileges of car ownership.

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It's likely that the next few months spanning Christmas and summer road tripping, will see Aussie roads become increasingly busy and chaotic, regardless of where you find yourself in the country.

Taking the time to show your family car some TLC well before you and your family get right back into your busy pre-lockdown schedules, will ensure that your cars run smoothly throughout the weeks of post-lockdown living.