Don’t leave your car idle during pandemic, says CAA

The Canadian Automobile Association says drivers should not be leaving their cars to sit for long periods of time during the pandemic. 

Instead of allowing cars to sit idle, which can lead to problems like drained batteries and tire pressure issues, CAA recommends running your car in the driveway, going for a short drive to run essential errands, or hooking the car up to a battery tender (which maintains a vehicle’s charge).

“Obviously we’re recommending people to stay home, but getting the vehicle moving to go to the grocery store is obviously a good idea,” said Gary Howard, CAA senior vice president of marketing and communications. 

“That gets the battery going and gets a charge, but also it moves a lot of the liquids, the fuel and oils and all that through the vehicles, like going for a walk with your car.”

Howard said overall, CAA call volumes are down, simply because people are staying home more often. 

“Our battery calls are actually up about 23 per cent and for that very reason,” he said. 

“Your cars just aren’t being driven as much, so when people go to use them, they may not get the cooperation of their battery, especially if the battery is not working well to begin with.”

Usually CAA can deliver batteries right to your car, however with the pandemic and in efforts to practise physical distancing, Howard said that’s not a service that is being offered right now.

“Hopefully when all this is all over, we’ll be able to do that, but we can take a vehicle to give you a boost or if necessary bring into a repair shop,” he said.

Auto insurance discounts

Howard also recommends car owners check their tire pressure on a regular basis, as it will change depending on how cold it is outside, and to not leave their emergency brake on for long periods of time, as that can cause it to seize up.

Due to the lack of driving across the board, CAA is also offering a discount for its insurance customers.

“It’s just coming into place this week in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick would be next week … we think it’s just the right thing to do,” he said. 

“People aren’t driving as much and that seems like a reasonable discount, around 10 per cent for us.”

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