As the entire world battles against the pandemic and the aftermath of the lockdowns, economies and businesses have taken a harsh beating. With most offices opting for a work from home model to keep their employees safe, roads have an uncharacteristically deserted look in India. Most car owners have rarely used their vehicles during the lockdown and left it parked for weeks or even months at a stretch. As the country unlocks slowly but carefully, people have started stepping out of their homes. If you are planning to take your first car ride after the lockdown, there are a few aspects you should check. From the engine and battery to an active car insurance policy, here are 7 things you should check before your first car ride after lockdown.
One of the first things that you need to check is the battery of your car. If it has been sitting parked for weeks/months, then it might have lost charge. It is recommended to disconnect the battery wires so that it does not drain out or start your car once every two/three days while parked. However, f you have not done so, then you might want to start your car and keep it running for a few minutes, turn off the ignition, and repeat the process two or three times before you take the car out on the road. If you face any problem, then you might have to call a mechanic to get it checked.
The lockdown extended through the entire monsoon. Hence, if you didn’t use your car at all, there is a possibility of rusting of the brake callipers. Further, if you had kept your car parked with the handbrake engaged, then the chances of rusting are higher. This can cause noisy breaking or even low friction causing lesser control over stopping the car. Check the brakes carefully before you go.
Tyres can lose air and even crack if left stationary for a long time. In fact, tyres are known to develop invisible weak spots which if left undetected can be dangerous. Hence, before you take your first car ride after the lockdown, ensure that you get the tyres checked thoroughly and drive out only if they are in good condition.
Keeping the vehicle parked for a long time can damage the engine due to corrosion. There are various components that are susceptible to rust if the car remains stationary for a long time like valves, wires, cylinder walls, belts, etc. This can happen since a parked car has low lubrication causing the damage. Hence, before you take your car out, get your engine checked and the parts replaced if needed.
When the car is in regular use, the interiors are ventilated from open windows or the air conditioner. If it stands stationary for a long time, then any particles inside the car can rot and cause a foul smell or fungus in the seats or leather parts. Hence, ensure that you get the interiors cleaned thoroughly before taking it out.
6. The car dealership might be shut
The lockdown has stretched for over five months. While many establishments are reopening, your car dealership might not be open yet or offering limited services. Also, once you take your first ride, you will realize that the roads are relatively empty and might feel tempted to drive too fast. However, you need to ensure that the engine oil, coolant, etc. are at their adequate levels so that you don’t aggravate any faults in your car.
7. Active Insurance Policy
In India, it is mandatory to have an active car insurance policy at least with third-party liability cover. If your policy had expired during the lockdown, then you need to ensure that you renew the car insurance policy before hitting the streets. You run an online car insurance check and look for a policy that suits your requirements. Assess your insurance requirements under the new conditions and ensure that you buy optimum car insurance coverage with adequate add-ons.
Even if you have used your car on one or two occasions during the lockdown, you need to keep the above-mentioned points in mind before your first car ride after the lockdown. Remember, while the lockdown has extended longer than expected by most people, keep the aspects mentioned in this article in mind and don’t drive your vehicle if you are unsure of its performance. Apart from car insurance, also ensure that other documents, like the car registration certificate, PUC certificate, etc. are active. Also, disinfect the areas of maximum contact, inside and outside the car, before you start driving and after you are back. Use the right kind of disinfectants and wear a mask if there are other people in the car with you. Stay safe and drive carefully. Good Luck!