Car maintenance is still important
When a car is driven less, such as in times when travel is discouraged, it still has maintenance needs.
“The most important thing, I would say, is tire pressure. When you don’t drive so much, you don’t think about it,” said Rod Koons, owner of Rod’s Tire and Service in Hillsboro.
Koons urges motorists also to check the air in their spare tire. That maintenance task often is “out of sight, out of mind,” he said.
But that’s not the only thing to check.
“The vehicles are in so many different stages of repair and disrepair, it depends,” Koons said.
Checking other aspects of tires also is important, said David Leith, owner of Leith Inc. auto repair in Marion.
“When you look at the tires, don’t just look at the tread; look at the sidewalls,” Leith said.
Cars are meant to be driven, and it’s good to take them out on the highway and drive them far enough to bring them to operating temperature, Koons said.
“You’re probably still driving your car; you might just not be getting it out to stretch its legs,” he said.
“Take the car out and get it in the highway twice a month for 45 or 50 miles,” Leith said.
Oil still should still be checked regularly, and it might be good to get an oil change a couple times a year even if the car hasn’t hit the mileage recommendation for a change.
Having a mechanic change the oil usually means the car gets a looking over while he’s at it.
“I’m just thinking a good rule of thumb is, don’t worry about not driving as much,” Leith said. “Just worry about getting the regular maintenance.”
Koons suggests keeping the gas tank at least halfway full to keep gas fresh. Although gas-
oline won’t go bad in a hurry and it usually takes a couple years for it to become completely stale, it still will be at its best if it’s freshened up regularly.
Some problems will develop even if a car is being driven less.
“If something’s going to wear out or break, it’s probably going to break down,” Koons said. “That’s the kind of stuff we see.”
Wiper blades are another thing people tend not to think about, Koons said that he noticed fewer customers coming in for routine maintenance earlier during the pandemic but that business has picked back up this month.