Auto service centers advise owners to pay attention to neglected cars

Published: May. 8, 2020 at 6:18 AM EDT
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While cars stay in garages and driveways during the state's stay-at-home orders and people are driving less, it might be a good time to check up on vehicle maintenance.

As stores and businesses reopen, auto service centers are preparing to get busy once people start driving more.

"Just starting the car is really not enough, so you know getting that 20-30 minutes of use, especially when your vehicle is sitting more than a couple of weeks, is very important," Jason Searl, VP of Product Management, Clarios, said.

Experts say now is the time to check on a vehicle's regular maintenance, especially the battery. Not driving a car, especially a newer model with many electronic features, can run out the battery quicker than many people think.

"Heated seats, heated mirrors, the infotainment system, the big screen displays, and certainly the things you're plugging in can have an effect because they all take energy from the vehicle's power system," Searles said.

It's also not a bad idea to have tires looked at and possibly get an oil change as well.

And there are still ways to take in a car for a checkup while social distancing.

Many auto service and repair shops are asking customers to call ahead to set an appointment, and be prepared to leave the car while work is being done; many shops are limiting the numbers of customers in their lobbies.

AAA is also offering first responders and healthcare workers a free oil change right now, among other offers. And they have a free program with the ride-share company Lyft, so you customers can get a ride to and from the service center without having to pay while the they work on a car.