Start your engines: Car maintenance in the age of COVID-19

Here's how to care for your car when you aren't driving it as often.

You've been doing your best to help flatten the curve by working from home and limiting daily exercise walks to your neighbourhood.

With the vehicle parked squarely in the driveway, at least you might see your maintenance bills go down, right?

Not necessarily. Auto expert Doug Bethune tells The Weather Network vehicles have what's called a parasitic load, meaning there's always a certain amount of drain on the battery.

It's not like a lightbulb in that the drain is very small, but he recommends running your car enough to let the engine warm-up every 2 weeks or so.

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Bethune says it's also a good idea to drive the length of your driveway and then back up. The reason: it lubricates all the gears and the transmission. He says your battery probably wouldn't drain completely unless you have an accessory in your car, but even running it for 15 minutes will help keep it maintained.


He says taking it for an occasional drive around the block will allow you to apply the brake which gets some of the surface rust off of the brake rotors and components so that they don't get deteriorate.

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He says running it around the block will make sure it gets lubricated so parts don't deteriorate and seize up.

Another tip: don't leave your vehicle parked on the lawn. Bethune says moisture from the ground gets up underneath the car and causes things to rust. If you can put it in a gravel driveway or paved driveway, or in a garage, even better. Just keep it off the grass.

As for your snow tires, if you've been putting off getting them changed, Bethune says you may decrease their lifespan.

Snow tires are very soft, compound rubber and they're made to flex. As a consequence, being somewhat softer, they have a tendency to wear at a higher rate, particularly on dry pavement.

You may also want to check your provincial regulations if you have studded tires as they may need to be removed by a certain date.