Just Drive It
There's a simple solution to almost all of the troubles facing your car as it languishes in its parking spot: driving it. We recommend driving your car for at least 20 minutes once every two weeks. That's enough time to warm up your tires and protect from flat spots, return some charge to your battery, wear surface rust off your brake disks, and keep the fluids in your car moving and everything properly lubricated.
It's a simple solution, but it works. Cars are designed to be driven, so it's easier to keep them healthy by putting them to regular use.
Maintenance and Breakdowns
There are some issues that time on the road can't fix. Your car may come due for regular maintenance during the COVID-19 pandemic, or it may suffer a breakdown or have a check engine light.
Even in states with shelter-in-place orders, repair shops and dealership service departments have been deemed necessary services and should remain open. Here are the steps we recommend taking if your car needs service that you can't perform yourself.
Make sure to call your service shop or dealership. It may have limited hours during the pandemic, and you should set an appointment rather than just walking in to cut down on the time you'll need to spend checking your vehicle in. There's also a chance that if you need scheduled maintenance, it may be worth postponing until after social-distancing measures are no longer necessary. If you're not driving much, or if the maintenance is relatively minor, it might be able to wait. Your service associate can help you make that decision.
Plan to wait or arrange transportation
If your required service won't take long, you might make the choice to wait. Ask ahead of time about the waiting area and whether it's easy to maintain the recommended distance from employees and other customers. Also ask if the space is being regularly cleaned. Bring whatever supplies you need to make you feel safe and comfortable.
If your service will take longer and you're getting a loaner or rental car, make sure to sterilize commonly touched surfaces.
Sterilize your vehicle after pickup
Your car may be returned to you clean, and extra attention may have been paid to the interior by conscientious service people, but for your own safety and peace of mind we recommend sterilizing common touch points inside your vehicle. You can read our full guide to reduce the risk of disease transmission in your vehicle for a detailed guide on how and what to sterilize in your vehicle's cabin.
Other Coronavirus Resources
Car payment relief during coronavirus: What you need to know if you or someone you know needs relief from car payments due to the crisis.
COVID-19 car buying resources, advice and incentives: If you need to buy a car during the coronavirus crisis, we have all the information you need.
Online car shopping during social distancing: A guide to buying a car from the safety of your home.
How to reduce the risk of coronavirus in your vehicle: Whether in your personal car, a ride share, or even on public transit, we lay out how to minimize your risk of infection.