How to keep your car in shape while you’re not driving

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In this time of social distancing and working from home, many of us are spending a lot less time in our cars.

Less time behind the wheel means saving money on gas as well as reducing the stress of a daily commute.

But your vehicle still needs a little TLC while it waits for your return.

Consumer Reports shares some simple tips to keep your vehicle happy and healthy.

Even if you have nowhere to go, you should still drive your car around town for about 20 minutes each week.

This will keep your battery charged and prevent rust from building up on the brakes and the calipers from seizing up.

While you might be tempted to top off your tank with gas prices so low, Consumer Reports says you should get gas only when you need it.

If you think your car will end up with the same fuel in the tank for more than three months, fill up at a gas station and add the appropriate amount of fuel stabilizer, which will help keep the fuel from breaking down over time.

There are also a number of simple maintenance checks you can do at home.

Before taking your weekly drive, check your oil while your car is on a level surface and the engine is cold.

And while you're under the hood, make sure your engine’s air filter is clean and free of excessive dirt or debris. Ditto your cabin air filter.

What if you receive a recall notice for your vehicle?

Consumer Reports says minor repairs can be put off during the coronavirus crisis.

But if it’s a recall for something that could put you in harm’s way, like an airbag defect, a mechanical issue, or a fire risk, you should stop driving the vehicle right away and contact your dealer.

Make sure to ask him or her about the current policies for disinfecting vehicles.

Consumer Reports recommends washing your car once a season.

Be sure to clean the interior surfaces with a solution that contains at least 70% isopropyl alcohol, or soap and water.

If you haven’t washed the car since winter, spring for an undercarriage spray to remove salt and road grime.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2019 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumerreports.org.

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