The lockdown has been further extended until May 17, meanwhile, the Government of India has relaxed the rules beginning from May 4 based on color codes which indicates the status of the Covid cases in respective regions. This also means a lot of us haven’t used our car for almost 40 days; apart from those who have been using your car to commute buy essential supplies or those of you who have been serving the community tirelessly belonging to the healthcare sector, police, and other emergency services.
If you have followed the tips on how to safely parking the car during the coronavirus lockdown, then your car should be fine. For the rest of you, if your car has been sitting idle, it’s essential to follow these steps to safely start your car after the lockdown
Before you step in and start your car, perform a simple visual inspection to make sure the car doesn’t have any major leaks, tyre pressure loss or any sort of electrical damage due to rodent attacks.
1) Check Engine Oil Level– Before starting the car look underneath the car for oil spills or leaks. Then check the engine oil level by a dipstick test and top up if required.
2) Check Brake, Clutch and Transmission Fluid – As a precautionary step check the brake, clutch, and transmission fluid levels, the chances of these fluid levels going low are highly unlikely; expect if there is a leak in the system or if haven’t regularly serviced your car. Make sure the level of brake fluid meets the minimum level marking on the brake fluid reservoir. The clutch and transmission (gear-box) fluid can be examined by a mechanic or a professional only. It should be fine if you don’t have an oil leak stain on the floor where the car was parked.
3) Check Coolant Level: Check the coolant level visually, ensure the level of fluid matches the minimum level marked on the coolant reservoir.
4) Check Belts, Hose, and Wires: Do a thorough check of the rubber hoses, electrical wires, and the AC belt. Rubber hoses tend to crack or harden while belts tend to slack (check for tension).
Once the above visual test is done, insert the key into the barrel or use the start button; once the dashboard warning lights appear, follow the below steps. In case of no lights on your dashboard, the battery is likely dead or you might have a damaged or loose battery connector cable.
Since you haven’t started your car in a long time, the voltage level of the battery might be low; that might not be enough for the starter motor to rotate the crank in order to fire up the engine, while the horn, wipers, and dashboard light may still work fine.
Attempting to start it with multiple cranks can completely drain out your car’s battery. If you are driving a manual you can possibly jump-start the car ( Clutch in and engage the second gear, with external help ( pushing a car) produce enough moment, release the clutch and you’re engine might just come back to life). You can also use a jumper cable if your neighbor or a friend has a car in running condition or a just a healthy car battery. If none of this works, you can disconnect the battery using a 10 size spanner and give it to the nearest mechanic or a car electrician for external charging.
Since your car hasn’t moved an inch, the chances that your tyre are deflated or underinflated (loss of air pressure) is not out of the question. You can easily identify if the Tyre is in the right state or not by visual examination. If you have a completely deflated tyre, do not drive (replace with a spare tyre or call for assistance); if you have an underinflated tyre it’s highly recommended to not drive the car as the cracks and cuts might permanently damage the tyre.
If your car has Run-Flat tyres, then you need not worry, you can still drive like a boss!
If your car starts in the first or second attempt, let it idle for a minute or so before you put down your feet on the accelerator. As it is very important for fluids like engine oil, transmission oil, and coolant to circulate through the system to ensure its smooth working and it also prevents any damage caused to internal components due to friction. And this is a must if you are driving a turbocharged car, as lack of lubrication can cause Turbo failure.
While the above can tips can help you to get your car running back to normal. For a driver, we recommend taking it slow and get the knack of safe driving before you speed away, as some of you haven’t driven in a while now. Drive responsible, be courteous to other drivers, follow traffic rules and pledge to avoid unnecessary usage of the Horn post the lockdown.
Happy Driving 🙂
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