Caring for your car while social distancing

Story by Stacie Gaetz

It is an unprecedented time when many are trying to balance working from home, caring for children, homeschooling, staying fit and active, cleaning, shopping – the list goes on and on

These is no doubt that social distancing is draining our batteries and the same can be said for our cars.

“It is much harder on a car for it to be sitting than for you to be driving it,” said Greg Tranter, owner of Smart Auto in Airdrie.

When a vehicle is left undriven for long periods od time, the battery charge weakens, increasing the likelihood of the engine not turning over the next time you need to go to drive it.

Alberta winters are also hard on batteries, with those older than three years being affected most, according to the Alberta Motor Association (AMA).

If your car is like you and staying at home more often than not, Tranter recommends driving the vehicle about 10 to 15 kilometres a few times a month. If you can’t get out to drive it, he suggests starting your car and letting it run for at least a half an hour (outside of the garage).

In addition, Tranter encourages residents to contact their insurance companies in an attempt to save money if their driving habits have drastically changed.

“If you are only using your car locally and are no longer driving into Calgary daily for work, you may be able to get a reduction in insurance costs,” he said.

“Alternatively, if you are not driving it at all, you could switch over to just theft and vandalism coverage to save a few bucks.”

He added that this might be a good opportunity to spring clean your vehicle because a “clean car is a happy car.”

“The biggest tip I have is to check or replace your cabin air filter,” he said.

“Everyone is talking about clean, filtered air right now and it is important to keep the air fresh in your car too.”

For more tips on spring cleaning your car, click here for some AMA Insider tips.

Smart Auto is currently offering full service and maintenance repairs and has changed its process to be completely contactless with the addition of online bookings and payments, and a drop box so you can drop your vehicle off any time.

For more information, visit or call 403-948-0400.