Floridians are driving less, but they must protect their vehicle as it sits unused, AAA says

For everyone who has hunkered down at home, experts are reminding them take care of their cars.

"Leaving the car unused for an extended period of time could leave it vulnerable to problems with your battery, brakes, and tires," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA - The Auto Club Group. "There are a few simple things you can do to make sure your vehicle is ready to roll when it's time to hit the road again."

AAA advises that letting a vehicle sit in the driveway for too long can cause damage. They offered some tips, such as starting up a vehicle for just a few minutes every few days to protect the battery. This also allows the engine to recharge. If a driver has a "Battery Tender" or other maintenance-type battery charger, it can remain connected to the stored vehicle, AAA says.

AAA also offered the following advice:

  • Tire Pressure: Add 10 psi of pressure (more than usual) to each tire to prevent flat spots from forming on the tires. This occurs when the area of the tire touching the ground becomes rigid due to sitting in one position for an extended period. You can also move the vehicle periodically.
  • Windshield Wiper Placement: Prop up the wiper arms so the blades are off the windshield and won't get stuck to the glass.
  • No Parking Brake: Don't use the parking brake when storing the vehicle. The brake could become frozen, and the brake pads could rust to the rotors, or brake shoes could distort the drums. With an automatic transmission, simply place the vehicle in park. If the car has a manual transmission, put it in first or reverse gear and use wheel chocks to help hold the vehicle in place.
  • Sun Shade: If your car is always outdoors and exposed to the sun, use a sun shade. This will help prevent the sun's UV rays from deteriorating your dashboard and steering wheel

According to AAA, statistics show Floridians are driving less as residents try to flatten the curve. Compared to this time last year, gasoline demand is down as much as 50 percent in large metropolitan areas. 

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to covid-19@flhealth.gov. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

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