Now that MCO has been extended for another 2 weeks, that also means staying at home for another 2 weeks. Some might not even use their cars as all their daily essentials are delivered straight to their doorstep. If you are one of those, do you know the danger that you are bringing upon your car by not moving it for a long period of time?
Cars in this condition suffer from a variety of problems, including old gas, bad starter motors, seized engines, dead batteries, and corroded hoses among a plethora of other things that are affected by time and the environment. Here are some things you can do to revive your precious vehicle in no time.
Jump Start a Car
The easiest step to starting a car that has been sitting for some time is to jump-start it as your car’s battery has lost all its charge and you are left with no juice to power up the car. Here are the ways to do it.
- Replace the car’s fluids; oil, coolant, and trans fluid.
- Using the jumper cable, connect the red clamp to the positive terminal on your dead car’s battery and the other red clamp on the live car’s battery. It will have a red cover or a “+” symbol on it.
- Connect the black clamp to the negative terminal of the live car’s battery. It will have a black cover or a “-” symbol on it and on the dead battery car, connect the black clamp to a grounded-metal part or surface of the car.
- Start the live-battery car and let it run for a few minutes as this will start to recharge the dead battery.
- Start the dead-battery car. If the engine does not start, keep the other car running for a few more minutes and try again.
- Once the car starts, remove the clamps in reverse order, black clamp from the grounded surface, black clamp from the good battery’s negative post, red clamp from the dead battery, red clamp from the good battery.
Replace the Car’s Battery
A dead battery is the next most common reason why your car won’t start. So here are the ways to replace it to a new one.
- Remove the old car battery by removing the negative cable from the negative terminal—the one with the minus sign and remove the positive one from the positive terminal which has the plus sign. If you are using a metal tool, make sure it does not contact the terminal as that can cause it to spark.
- Loosen the battery hold-down, connectors, and/or fasteners that secure the battery in place.
- Lift the battery out and put it to the side in a safe spot.
- Using a skinny wire brush and some water or baking soda, clean the clamps before you add the new battery. Try to remove any corrosion, dirt, or debris from the clamps. You can also clean the battery terminals from any build-up issues.
- Put the new battery into the holder and secure the battery.
- Reconnect the positive terminal and the negative terminal.
- Test your car by cranking up the engine or turning on the electronics. If everything works, the battery is installed properly, and you are ready to get going.
Replace Your Petrol
Just like milk, your petrol can also turn bad if its left for too long. Usually petrol has a shelf-life of about six months, so make sure you check it first before replacing it. Here is how you can do it.
- Using a fuel transfer pump, slide the pump’s hose into the gas tank’s input opening behind the filler cap and pump a small amount of petrol into a clear container.
- Let the petrol sit for approximately five minutes so it can settle.
- If you see the petrol separating into discernible layers or contains particulates, that means it has gone bad.
- Remove as much as possible using the pump and replace it with new petrol.
- You will likely have to crank up your engine a few times to flush out the remaining petrol through the system.
- You will likely have to crank the engine a few times to work the remaining bad gasoline through the system.
Read also: Latest Petrol Price in Malaysia
Change Your Starter Motor
If your car still does not start after replacing the battery and jump-starting it, then the next thing you need to change is the starter motor. Since there are no one-size-fits-all solutions here, you’ll have to do a little investigative homework to determine the location and what you need to do to replace it. Here is how you can do that.
- Disconnect the battery terminals and locate the engine’s starter motor using your car’s manual or just google it up.
- Locate the engine’s starter motor using your dusty manual or a quick Google search.
- Remove any parts necessary to access the starter motor.
- Disconnect any connections running to the starter motor.
- Remove the starter and replace it with a new one.
- Reconnect any connections to the new starter you removed from the old starter and replace any parts you had to remove to access the starter.
- Reconnect the battery terminals and crank up the engine. It might not fire right away, so you might want to give it a few tries until it starts.
If your car still does not start, then the next best option is to get a mechanic to review and inspect your car.
How to Maintain a Non-Moving Car
Even if you are not using your car for a long period of time, here are some tips on how you can maintain the health of your non-moving car.
Start Your Car Once A Week
If your car is left idle during this MCO period, you are advised to start your car’s engine at least once a week for 10 minutes. It is intended to keep your car’s battery charged and ensure that the car’s alternators and other components function properly. Do take note not to turn on the air conditioner or car infotainment system during this period to maximize the battery charging process. You can also remove the battery of your car to maintain its battery power.
Clean the Interior of Your Car
Make sure no trash or food waste is left inside your car especially if you leave your car for a long period of time. This not only invites pests such as cockroaches, but it can also cause an unpleasant foul odor. Apart from cleaning the interior of your car, you should also regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched parts of the car such as steering wheel, door handles and others. Be sure to use a car-friendly product.
Check the Air Pressure
Check and make sure the air pressure in your tires is at the appropriate level. Air pressure in low or deflated tires will not be able absorb the impact of potholes which can affect the alignment of the steering wheel and damage the suspension system. Meanwhile, excessive air pressure in the tire can reduce the grip of the tire on the road surface and cause it to wear out. You are advised to check your tires at least once every two weeks.
Cars that are left for a long period of time can cause flat-spotting on the tires. Flat-spotting causes the tires to lose its shape and this will cause your steering wheel to vibrate when you drive. To prevent this from happening, increase the air pressure by 3 PSI if you are not planning to drive your car for a long time. You can also drive your car forward and backwards to rotate the tires to avoid the risk of flat-spotting.
We hope this guide on cars that are left idle for a long time will be able to help you and your car from future damages which can be costly. Apart from this, if you are interested in selling your used car, make sure to check out Carsome for more info. Carsome is an online used car buying and selling platform in Malaysia. Every car from Carsome goes through 175 inspection points and is Carsome Certified.