10 Tips to Maintain Your Vehicle While Working From Home

Buying Tips & Tricks June 19, 2021

It seems that the finish line of this pandemic is finally in sight with some businesses slowly returning to work in-person. Although we may still be far away from returning to "normal" life, we are certainly a giant step closer. Many Albertans are back on the road at rush hour, once or twice a week, to work in-office and spend the remaining days working from home. For many other provinces, however, non-essential workers continue their five-day work week in more comfortable attire at home. But as we park ourselves in front of computers in make-shift home offices - sitting idle for hours - so do our vehicles. Like you, your car probably hasn't left the driveway in a while, and although it may be great for saving on gas, it may not be the best for your vehicle if you aren't storing or maintaining it properly. Here are 10 tips for vehicle maintenance during the pandemic.

1. Top up on gas before you park

Filling up your tank before parking it long-term has several benefits, besides the fact that you won’t have to leave your warm bed a little earlier on your first day back to work in-person just to get gas (Business Insider, 2020). Besides that, topping up prevents harmful gas fumes from building up in your gas tank while it sits undriven. In addition, it stops condensation from occurring, which saves your vehicle from mechanical issues like sputtering, idling, gas tank rust, and fuel contamination. If you want to be extra cautious, you could use a fuel stabilizer, which will help keep the fuel in your tank fresh - or you could fill up now before gas prices increase (Calgary Sun, 2021).

2. Don't engage the parking brake

It may seem strange to reject your vehicle’s built-in, fail-safe feature but it may actually be in your best interest to. Use your parking brake if you are parking uphill or downhill, but leave it unengaged if you’re going to be parked on a flat surface for an extended period of time (USA Today, 2020). It can cause your brake pads to bind to the rotors, especially in the summer months or freezing cold temperatures. 

3. Start your vehicle every few days

This is definitely a no-brainer in the winter months as starting your vehicle can keep the battery from dying and warm up its engine. But it’s also a good idea to make this a habit during the pandemic, despite the temperature warming up. Jeff Bartlett, Auto Editor for Consumer Reports, suggests driving your vehicle around for a minimum of 20 minutes each week (Toronto CTV News, 2020). This will ensure that not only is the battery charged and engine warm, but it will help prevent rust from building up on the brakes and calipers (USA Today, 2020). As well, your calipers are less likely to seize and parts like the wipers and timing belt won’t become brittle or dry. Use this as an opportunity to get out of the house for a bit and take your vehicle for a quick spin.