By Hank Tester

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — When was the last time you got in your car and actually drove somewhere? Amid the coronavirus pandemic, we are all staying at home. However, don’t let your car sit for too long or you could get an unpleasant surprise when you try to start it up again.

Jay Mullininx fixes cars.  From the latest models to vintage classics, he has seen cars impacted by the pandemic because they’ve been sitting for more than a month.

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“Batteries are like light bulbs. You can turn the light off. Go out of the room. Come back in and pop it goes out,” said Mullininx.

The streets have been empty for weeks.  Vehicles need to be driven to keep the battery charged, otherwise when you go to start them up, you might have a dead battery.

“Hopefully you have a neighbor with jumper cables,” said Mullininx.

Jumper cables are used to connect a car’s good battery to a dead battery. Seems simple enough but if you do it wrong, damage can be done especially to newer cars.

“A computer system, if you reverse the terminal you can blow you alternator or hi-tech electronics. Stuff under the car, navigation center, radios you got to know positive to positive, red to red,” he explained.

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Those are words to live by. Link up positive to positive and negative to negative.

If you are still confused, click here for more on how to safely jump start a car on the internet.

Plus, always remember to make sure the jumper cables are grounded.

Mullininx says the best prevention for a dead battery is to drive your car, put a few miles on it and check the tires and brakes.

“Before you start, step on the brake pedal a couple of times and make sure you have a firm brake pedal,” advises Mullininx.

RELATED: Tips To Protect Your Vehicle While It Sits Unused 

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Some other important care car tips for longer-than-expected parked vehicles:

  • Tire Pressure. Add 10 psi of pressure (more than usual) to each tire to prevent flat spots from forming on the tires. This occurs when the area of the tire touching the ground becomes rigid due to sitting in one position for an extended period.
  • Windshield Wiper Placement. Prop up the wiper arms so the blades are off the windshield and won’t get stuck to the glass.
  • No Parking Brake. Don’t use the parking brake when storing the vehicle. The brake could become frozen, and the brake pads could rust to the rotors, or brake shoes could distort the drums. With an automatic transmission, simply place the vehicle in park. If the car has a manual transmission, put it in first or reverse gear and use wheel chocks to help hold the vehicle in place.
  • Sun Shade. If your car is always outdoors and exposed to the sun, use a sun shade. This will help prevent the sun’s UV rays from deteriorating your dashboard and steering wheel.