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The early days of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an unprecedented decline in driving as many of us did not do the daily commute to and from work – and instead, worked from home. Over the last several months, while an increasing number of individuals have returned to their workplaces, the new normal for many continues to involve working from their own residence, getting their entertainment and purchasing goods from the comfort of their homes as well.

That means many of us are not, at least for the time being, utilizing our vehicles to the extent we might typically do. And while that may mean your car or truck is accumulating less wear and tear, there is still some basic caretaking maintenance required.

So, as you physically distance and spend time indoors, the following (which was included in a recent communication from Nissan Canada to its customers) is a few tips to ensure the health of your vehicle is maintained:

  • Start your vehicle at least once a week, and drive it long enough that it reaches operating temperature (check your Owner’s Manual for details). And driving periodically will help maintain the vehicle battery’s charge. Run the air conditioner on occasion to keep all the parts working and air quality fresh.
  • Fill the tank with gas to full if you expect the vehicle to be parked for a month or longer and make sure to follow a regular oil change plan. A full gas tank will help prevent moisture from accumulating inside the fuel tank, which could lead to poor operation.
  • Use a tire pressure gauge to check the pressure of your tires — the correct pressures can be found in your Owner’s Manual. Then, open the hood and refer to your Owner’s Manual on how to check your vehicle’s fluid levels.
  • To avoid flat spots in your tires, be sure to move your vehicle from time to time so that the full weight of your vehicle is dispersed evenly on your tires over time.
  • Wash and dry your vehicle. Any contamination like water stains or bird droppings left on the car can damage the paint. Then, vacuum the interior and wipe down the dash and other surfaces. Ensure that high-touch surfaces on vehicles are regularly and thoroughly disinfected.

While we may still be in the throes of winter, an early spring cleaning of your vehicle may be a welcome distraction. After a winter in which your car or truck may still be carrying the lingering effects of salt and sand, both can damage its finish and encourage corrosion if they remain unchecked. A thorough wash is the best way to properly clean and flush the salt and sand from your vehicle’s body, panel gaps, undercarriage, wheels, and wheel wells.

However, if you want to treat your car to the ultimate cleaning and protection, a complete spring detailing and vehicle service by your local new car dealer may be exactly what you are looking for.

Dealerships are taking all of the proper precautions to ensure the health and safety of all patrons and staff with thorough sanitization, physical distancing measures, required mask wearing and many dealerships are offering by appointment only. It is not only a great way to provide intensive cleaning for your beloved vehicle, but a way to support your local dealerships at this time too.

As we continue to make our way through this new normal, take the time to take care of yourself, your family and other loved ones. There is a light at the end of the tunnel as a national vaccination program continues to roll out, and we will get through it by supporting each other.

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at [email protected]