Right now, all across America and the world, social distancing measures implemented to help combat the coronavirus pandemic are affecting millions of people. For most of us, this is still a new development, one we’re just coming to grips with amidst a deluge of bad news unlike any seen in our lives. It’s changing the way we work, the way we play, the way we interact with the world around us.
And it’s also changing the way we interact with our cars. After all, for many people, if they’re not driving to work or school, they don’t need their wheels as much as they used to. Instead of being daily fixtures for commuting, errand-running and social outings in suburban areas, they are now, likely, just sitting around in the garage or in front of your house.
You can, however, use your vehicle as a way to pass the time. After all, there’s plenty of maintenance to do on most cars — and odds are good you’ve been putting at least some of it off.
Here are six things you can do with your car while still practicing good social distancing protocols at home.
Wash your car
It’s still winter, technically speaking (even if it’s been meteorological spring for a while). If you live in a northern climate, that means your car is likely coated in a layer of filth and salt spray (unless you were rolling your Escalade through the car wash every time it rained or snowed.)
You could always just plug in the hose, but since you’ve got the time, why not spring for that nice car washing kit you’ve always had your eye on?
Meguiar’s Complete Car Care Kit
Clean your car’s interior.
Admit it: it’s been a while since you gave the inside of your car a good cleaning. Especially if you have children, at which point cleaning your car has slipped to the 19th page of your to-do list; you probably have at least two mismatched mittens, a winter coat, a plastic dinosaur, a juice cup, a couple mysterious stains, a half-eaten cereal bar…and maybe some dog hair. While the kids are upstairs watching TV, vacuum out the car. (Or better yet, have them help you.)
Dyson V7 Car+Boat Cord-Free Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
Rotate your tires
Rotating your tires is quick and easy — if you know what you’re doing. (Maybe you use the appropriate cross pattern to even out the tread.) Perhaps it’s time to remove those awesome winter tires you bought last fall, if you have them professionally mounted on a separate set of wheels.
At the very least, it’s not a bad moment to check the air pressure on your tires.
AstroAI Digital Tire Pressure Gauge
Top up your fluids
Yes, it’s 2020; your incredibly sophisticated car will start bleating at you when the software detects an error with a critical system. But even an extreme car novice can check — and, if needed, top off — the oil, washer fluid and coolant.
Castrol Edge 5W-40 Synthetic Motor Oil (6-pack of quarts)
Prestone Deluxe 3-in-1 Windshield Washer Fluid (1 gallon)
Valvoline Zerex Dex-Cool Antifreeze/Coolant
Change your windshield wipers
Are your windshield wipers getting a little ratty? Maybe they’re making loud noises as they streak across your window? Changing them is something you can easily do yourself. Amazon makes it easy to know which ones you need; just drop in your make and model information, and their wiper portal will show you find blades that fit. It should take about five minutes — no automotive expertise required.
Go for a drive
Social distancing does resemble experiencing a protracted blizzard or hurricane in many ways. But there’s one critical difference is: in many areas, at least for now, you can still get out of the house and take a drive. Traffic is generally reduced across the country; and the car’s sheetmetal provides the requisite six-plus feet of social distance to keep yourself healthy (or protect you from spreading covid-19 without knowing it). If you stop for gas, just be sure to sterilize the pump handle and credit card machine before and after using it.
Even if you aren’t traversing one of the world’s most beautiful roads, you can get some fresh air, give your family members some space, and catch up on your podcasts. Plus, a quick cruise would be good for your car, as well as your mental health.
(That said, obey all local, state and federal guidelines and instructions about proper procedures to follow — and of course, follow the CDC’s instructions if you feel ill and stay home unless seeking medical treatment.)
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