Hibernating vehicles need special care outside lockdown

As Australians begin to hit the road again and return to work, it is imperative simple but important safety steps are followed before getting back behind wheel, says peak industry body, the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC).

The Chamber is urging motorists to follow industry guidelines and recommission their vehicles, especially after being parked for such long periods, in preparation for returning to regular driving patterns.

“After working from home, it is likely many people have not been using their vehicles regularly, if at all.

However, as normal life resumes – we will need our cars, motorcycles and trucks to be in safe working order,” said VACC CEO, Geoff Gwilym.

VACC is aiming to raise motorist awareness in order to avoid:

Flat batteries

Recommendation: If a vehicle is not being used regularly, start it up in the driveway two or three times a week
and let it idle for 10 minutes. If possible, use the vehicle once a week when doing the grocery shopping and, if it is a short trip, extend the drive on the way home. Using a battery charger is also a good idea, but only if the manufacturer’s instructions are strictly followed.

Low tyre pressure

Recommendation: If a vehicle has not been driven for an extended period, walk around it to check for any signs of tyre deflation. Inflating all tyres – including the spare – to the manufacturer’s recommended pressures should be the first task when arriving at a service station on the first drive after ‘hibernation’.

Fuel degradation

Recommendation: This is unlikely to be a problem unless a vehicle is left unused for several months. If possible, use the vehicle once a week when
doing the grocery shopping and, if it is a short trip, take a longer route on the way home. Topping up the fuel tank with fresh petrol or diesel will avoid any problem with ‘stale’ fuel.

“Recommissioning a vehicle after prolonged inactivity is straightforward, but it’s important these basic steps are taken to ensure complete safety for all road users,” said Mr Gwilym.