4 June, 2020
When the countrywide lockdown started late in March, many had assumed that it would only be for three weeks. Each subsequent extension has come with riders and ease of restrictions. The current lockdown 5.0 is in a sense, unlock 1.0, wherein the government has opened up the movements and the economy almost fully. As of 8th Jun 2020, only schools, colleges, gyms, swimming pools, theatres, and international travel will remain closed.
Every other sector is opening up with new guidelines in place to ensure the safety of the people involved. So, for most people, the vehicles that were lying idle all this while, will now be put to use. However, for senior citizens, especially considering the high spread of the disease, and the vulnerability, it is still advisable to stay indoors. This brings an important issue to the fore; that of vehicle maintenance.
Whether a two-wheeler or a four-wheeler, when you do not use it for as long a time as this is turning out to be, it needs certain maintenance. Also, the scorching heat is now giving way to the monsoon that has already hit many parts of India. You may even want to check if your vehicle is parked in a safe area. Recent rains have uprooted trees that fell on parked vehicles, and in certain parts waterlogging is also common during monsoons. Here are a few tips and tricks to maintain the vehicles when they are not in use.
If your two-wheeler is already parked in a safe, and protected parking space, then no issues. Else, you may want to look for one, as both the summer heat as well as the monsoons damage the exposed vehicle in the long run. Excessive sunlight, rain, bird droppings, or the fallen flowers and leaves are all harmful to the vehicle. IF you have no safe parking place available, at least clean your vehicle once a while, and make sure to use a good cover so it is not exposed to the weather.
Especially for two-wheelers, leaving it open for long can harm the chrome and rubber parts, which may then have to be replaced. Please ensure to put the two-wheelers on the centre stand and not the side stand for safety purposes. For cars, use parking mode if you have, else avoid using the hand brake and instead try using wheel chokes for the tyres to ensure the vehicle won’t move. Also, make sure that you do not leave any unwanted items in the vehicle. This includes your vehicle documents as well. This can keep away the thieves as well as the pests and rodents.
Check the vehicle once, thoroughly, before you take it out the next time. There have even been instances of snakes in the bonnets, and rats eating the wiring, etc. when vehicles have been parked unattended for a long time.
Even though you may feel that it is best to keep the fuel levels low since you are not using it anyway, it is always best to keep the vehicle full tank. This is advantageous in case of any emergency that you may need to take the vehicle out, you don’t have to worry about filling it up first. There is also a chance that condensation can happen in half-empty tanks, which is not good for the vehicles. Over time, this can lead to corrosion of parts, and that is not good for the vehicle.
You may already have been starting the vehicle once every three to four days to keep its battery safe and running. But considering that you may not be using the vehicle for a longer time, you could also choose to disconnect the battery, so it does not get discharged. Especially for diesel vehicles, this kind of maintenance is a must. Before using the car again, connect the battery, leave it in the idle running for a while, and also start the AC with the blower on. This will ensure that the car is safe to use and that any dust is removed.
Please check the tyre pressure once to make sure that it is fine and not deflated, etc. Now that there is an option to move out, you may take the vehicle out once, get it serviced if you want, and check the tyre pressure, etc. to make sure it is fine, before covering and parking it again. Wherever possible, you could also start the vehicle and move it around a bit and park it again to ensure it is maintained well. While you are at it, don’t miss out on checking the spare tyre as well.
Few two-wheeler parts like the chain may need lubricants every once in a while to keep it in working condition. Chains should be cleaned before lubricating them. You could also change the oil if you are comfortable doing it; else you could leave it to the regular servicing which is opened up now.
Concerning the documents, you want to check the insurance and pollution certificate for renewal to ensure that it is up to date. Insurance can be renewed online within a few minutes; however, you may have to step out for the pollution certificate, even though you have time till 30th Jun to renew it, even if expired during the lockdown. Make sure that while you are staying safe, your vehicle also remains safe, and can be used when you need it.
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