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Calls for roadside battery assistance spike during pandemic: BCAA

(iStock Photo)

BCAA has seen a 50 per cent spike in calls for battery replacement this month amid social distancing measures

More people are staying home, with their cars sitting idle

BCAA is reminding you to keep your car battery charged and your tires inflated

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Keep your car battery charged and your tires inflated.

That’s the advice from BCAA, which has seen a 50 per cent spike in calls for battery replacement this month as people isolate at home and vehicles sit idle.

The roadside assistance provider has some tips to protect auto batteries – especially older ones — at risk of deteriorating as vehicle remain parked for even just a few weeks.

“Make the most out of essential trips — even 20 to 30 minutes per week helps. Choose a longer route or, if possible, drive to a store a little further away,” suggests Josh Smythe, BCAA’ Automotive Manager. “And consider a battery maintainer to keep your battery charged. Wired into your vehicle’s battery and plugged into the wall, battery maintainers can be ordered online to limit outings.”

If your battery does need a boost or replacement, services like BCAA offer contact-free service wherever your vehicle is parked.

Smythe also reminds that tires can deflate over time if a vehicle is left sitting too long. While vehicles not in use for many months can be put up on cinderblocks to ease tire pressure, he doesn’t recommend that for shorter periods.

“Keep an eye on tire pressure. Do walk-arounds regularly to check each tire and use a tire gauge if you have one. If you have a deflated tire, add air if you can or change it before heading out for essential trips.”

If your vehicle is sitting parked for an extended period of time, Smythe also recommends cleaning the interior to prevent odour and mould.

“And make sure the vehicle is well-sealed — that the windows are closed and the ventilation system is set to recirculation, not fresh air, to prevent rodents from getting in.”

BCAA also suggests you not set the parking brake if your vehicle will be parked for more than 30 days. The pads or shoes can seize to the drum or the rotor and cause problems down the road when you move it. To prevent the vehicle from rolling away, chock the tire at the front and at the rear.