Car Maintenance

Unexpected Victims of the Pandemic

Have you been looking after your car’s health during lockdown?

Holly Jahangiri
4 min readJun 2, 2020


Photo by Matan Levanon on Unsplash

It’s not like I haven’t gone anywhere. I have run errands; I have driven about 10 miles each week to get groceries and the occasional home-improvement do-dad or gardening thingy at Ace Hardware. But Thursday morning, last week, my car was harder to wake up than I am after an all-nighter on Kindle and no coffee in my cup.

I wasn’t exactly surprised that the battery was dead. I was a little surprised at how hard it was to start. And more than a little annoyed at my husband’s suggestion that I take it out for a run, as if it were a Belgian Malinois on a skateboard.

People are not driving as well as they did before lockdown. And that’s not saying they were any good at it before, but they’re worse now. I don’t feel “cooped up” at home, as long as I have a good book. I feel like I’m locked and loaded for the Zombie Apocalypse, whenever I have to leave the house. Mask? Check. I know that you can tell if my smile’s not reaching my eyes, but it usually is. I need to paint a mean, nasty, unapproachable, “stay-six-feet-away-from-me” face on the mask, when I’m feeling more creative.

I drove up and down 99. When they first opened that stretch of exorbitantly priced toll road in north Houston, I asked folks why, if they didn’t drive 10 mph on I-10, why they felt the need to drive 99 mph on highway 99. And then, for a while, that was my daily commute. I got buzzed by a cement truck, one day, and I was going 84 mph in a 75 mph zone. The cops don’t even bat an eye till you’re driving recklessly or over 95 mph.

I didn’t have a chance to drive the car again until Monday. Once again, the car was dead. So much for my little Thursday joyride. I had a service appointment set, already, for Tuesday morning. Figured we’d just jumpstart the battery and off I’d go, but no. The stubborn car refused to blink. The wiper blades gave a half-hearted salute, then the whole thing went silent.

I called AAA.

Just the Battery?

The battery service technician sent out by AAA was incredibly quick — it only took him 20 minutes of the estimated hour to arrive, and he…