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Mothballing The Car

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Planning to store your car away during this Circuit Breaker? There are routines you need to perform so that it will be in good operating condition when you take it out for a spin on a regular basis again.

With COVID-19 hitting the world — including right here in the Lion City — hard, many countries have implemented similar stringent measures to break the transmission pattern of the virus.

Here in Singapore, the government has announced a period known as a Circuit Breaker, which is a partial lockdown. Many working adults are doing so from the safety of their respective homes, while children are getting home-based learning. Those who normally drive to work or chauffeur their children to and from school will feel that their cars are in a similar lockdown mode.

While drivers may miss the freedom of zipping down the highway, the plus side is that they will be saving on petrol. However, car owners can’t completely ignore their car for a month or so. Take the following precautions to ensure that your car is in working condition when restrictions are lifted.

Car park
If you are leaving your car parked for the majority of the Circuit Breaker, your stationary vehicle will be more susceptible to attracting dust and contaminants, such as bird poo. Where possible, park your car in a covered lot, such as a multi-storey car park or a basement car park. If you choose to park outdoors, invest in a weatherproof car cover; ensure that it is large enough to cover your car adequately and is strapped on securely.

Clean your car
Stains left over a period of time can damage your car’s paintwork, so we hope you had your car washed and cleaned before hunkering down for the Circuit Breaker. Washing of cars is not a valid reason for being out of your home during this period —unless you live in a landed property that has space to park your car. Clear away unnecessary items in the car, especially food items. You don’t want your car smelling funny after a period of time, or find pests such as cockroaches and rats living it up in your car!

Fill up the tank
To avoid rust creeping on the inside of the fuel tank, it is best to fill up your car. A full tank will prevent moisture from entering the tank, and rust from happening. Make sure that your fuel cap is securely locked and sealed.

Keep the battery charged
An unattended battery will eventually lose its charge. Though the length of time for this to occur varies, it is possible that a month or more of disuse may lead to problems. If possible, bring your car out for at least a half hour drive weekly (fortnightly if it is brand new) or so to allow the alternator to fully recharge the battery. This will also keep the engine and other key components adequately lubricated. Switch on the air con to keep it in working order and maintain the air quality in the cabin.

Prevent flat spots
Don’t let your tyres deflate. Tyres will slowly lose air over periods of disuse. And as the weight of your car slowly bears down on them, the tyres tend to develop flat spots where the tyres meet the floor surface. This is especially true for performance or low-profile tyres. Also, remember to inflate your tyres to the recommended tyre pressure before you park it away. Do a run about once a week or fortnightly, to bring the tyres up to normal operating temperature to keep the tyres fresh. If you don’t intend to use your car for more than a month and you have your own garage or private parking space, consider taking the wheels off and placing your car on jack stands to relieve the stress on the tyres.

When the Circuit Breaker is lifted, or after any lengthy storage period, check to make sure your car is ready to go out again. Do a run through on the battery condition, tyre pressure, fluid levels, and overall condition of your car. Or bring it to a recommended workshop to do a health check before you start driving more regularly again.

AA Singapore is here to help
If, for some reason or other, you were not able to carry out the suggestions above during the Circuit Breaker, and you are experiencing trouble with your car, just give AA Singapore’s Roadside Assistance Service (RAS) a call at 6748 9911. Best of all, it is available 24 hours a day!

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