TAMPA, Florida – Many Floridians’ cars will be parked in the driveway for at least another month. A statewide “stay-at-home” order goes into effect Friday, urging Floridians to remain home, unless they are making essential trips, as outlined by the executive order.
State figures show that Floridians are already driving less, as residents attempt to flatten the curve. Compared to this time last year, gasoline demand is down as much as 50 percent in large metro areas, according to the Florida Petroleum and Marketers Association. AAA urges Floridians to follow the advice of state and local authorities, but don’t forget to check on your vehicle from time to time.
“Leaving the car unused for an extended period of time could leave it vulnerable to problems with your battery, brakes, and tires,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “There are a few simple things you can do to make sure your vehicle is ready to roll when it’s time to hit the road again.”
AAA offers these car care tips for longer-than-expected parked vehicles:
- Battery Boost. Start your vehicle every couple of days to keep the battery at a full state and prevent deterioration. Let the engine run for a few minutes to recharge, then turn it off. If you have one, consider using a Battery Tender or other maintenance-type battery charger. The Battery Tender would remain connected to the stored vehicle.
- Tire Pressure. Add 10 psi of pressure (more than usual) to each tire to prevent flat spots from forming on the tires. This occurs when the area of the tire touching the ground becomes rigid due to sitting in one position for an extended period. You can also move the vehicle periodically.
- Windshield Wiper Placement. Prop up the wiper arms so the blades are off the windshield and won’t get stuck to the glass.
- No Parking Brake. Don’t use the parking brake when storing the vehicle. The brake could become frozen, and the brake pads could rust to the rotors, or brake shoes could distort the drums. With an automatic transmission, simply place the vehicle in park. If the car has a manual transmission, put it in first or reverse gear and use wheel chocks to help hold the vehicle in place.
- Sun Shade. If your car is always outdoors and exposed to the sun, use a sun shade. This will help prevent the sun’s UV rays from deteriorating your dashboard and steering wheel.