Thanks to the internet and the rise of the gig economy, a lot of people are driving far less than they used to. Businesses large and small have been trimming their in-office workforces and embracing telecommuting in a big way, leaving many workers at home and lots of cars sitting idle.
If you are now working from home, you might think that vehicle maintenance will not be easier, but that is not necessarily the case. Your car may be hanging out in the driveway, but it still needs some tender loving care. Here are some timely car care tips for telecommuters and other at-home workers.
Stay on Schedule
The fact that your car is rarely driven does not mean it no longer need maintenance. Keeping your vehicle on a regular maintenance schedule is just as important, if not more so, now that your car is sitting idle most of the time.
Maintenance windows are typically expressed in two ways – time and mileage. Your vehicle may not have traveled the 3,000-5,000 miles required for an oil change, but if the appropriate time period has elapsed, it is time to call your local mechanic.
Kick the Tires
Your car’s tires are especially vulnerable to deterioration, so check them frequently. Check the tire pressure, add air as needed and look for flat spots and other damage.
If you think your tires may be damaged, you should not take a chance by driving it. Instead, contact your favorite mechanic and ask them to check, and if necessary, change the tires.
Start the Engine
You may be driving less now that you are telecommuting, but you still expect your car to start when you turn the key. If you want that to happen, start the engine at least once a month and let it run for 10-15 minutes. Even if you just sit in the driveway and listen to the radio, you will be charging the battery and keeping your vehicle in great shape.
If you fail to start your car on a regular basis, you could find yourself with a dead battery when you do need the vehicle. Replacement batteries are expensive, far more costly than the small amount of gas you will use up while idling the engine for a few minutes.
Take Your Car for a Spin
If you want to do more than just start the engine, why not take your car for a spin now and again? Even if you just drive around the neighborhood or stop by the local grocery store, you, and your car, will be getting out.
There are many advantages to using your car on a regular basis even if you no longer commute back and forth to work. Driving just a few miles a week will encourage more even wear on the tires, keep the battery charged and help you spot any looming problems early, before they turn into expensive repair emergencies.
Keep Your Car in the Garage if Possible
Now that the daily commute is a thing of the past, you have extra time to finally clean out the garage. So pack up those boxes, put those garden implements on hanging hooks, fill up those shelves and make room for your car.
It is always a good idea to park your car indoors, but it is even more important when your vehicle is rarely driven. Parking your car outside will leave it vulnerable to extreme temperatures and other dangers, including the risk of theft or vandalism.
Working from home can be a dream come true for many workers. The thought of trading the stress of the daily commute for the convenience of a home office is very enticing, not to mention the reduced gasoline costs. Even so, you still need to maintain your vehicle the right way, even if those trips to the gas station are now few and far between.