Caring For An Idle Vehicle

May 15th, 2020 by

With the majority of vehicle owners not driving due to stay-at-home orders, many vehicles are sitting idle. Just because a vehicle isn’t being used doesn’t mean it should be ignored. This week’s blog we will be looking at some simple steps to make sure your car is in pristine condition when the time comes to get back on the road.


  • Maintaining Battery Charge: If your vehicle sits idle for too long the battery can discharge to a point where you won’t be able to start it. Fortunately there are a couple of easy ways around this problem. The first, and most simple, is to take your vehicle out on a short drive. It doesn’t have to be a long trip, just enough to heat the oil to temperature and evaporate any condensation in the oil. We recommend driving around 10-20 miles once a week or so to make sure your battery maintains its charge. If driving isn’t an option for you right now, we suggest looking into a trickle charger or solar panel charger to help make sure the battery is at full charge.


  • Check Tire Pressure: Checking your tire pressure and making sure they are at the manufacturer’s recommended levels on a semi-regular basis is highly recommended. Tires lose pressure over time even when you do drive regularly. If tires don’t move they can also develop flat spots that are hard to notice until it’s too late. The great news is a good way to avoid this is to drive your car around for a bit and when you park it make sure it’s not sitting on the same part of the tire it was on initially.  So by completing the first tip to charge the battery, you should be taking care of this step at the same time.


  • Don’t Use Your Parking Brake: Disengaging your parking brake will help prevent binding, freezing, and brake pads fusing or sticking to the rotor. Just make sure that your car is held securely in position as to prevent it rolling off. We recommend using a wheel chock or something large to block the wheel from rolling.


  • Keep An Eye On Gas Levels: Gas is usually only good in an engine for 3-6 months depending on how much you are driving the vehicle. After that, if your tank is low, condensation will start to build up in your engine and cause internal issues. We recommend topping off your tank when it reaches the halfway point. If driving your car isn’t an option right now it might be in your best interest to look into fuel stabilizers to help prevent evaporation and to extend the active life of the fuel. After a certain point, if nothing is done to maintain and fill your tank you might need to drain it out and replace the gas completely.


  • Continue Maintenance Schedule: It might seem silly to keep up with your car’s maintenance schedule while it isn’t in active use, but keeping in mind what your car needs on a semi-regular basis will help prevent forgetting what things need to be filled up or replaced. The last thing anyone wants is to start driving a car after it has sat idle, only to have something happen while on the road.


  • Consider A Car Cover: Unless you have a garage or someplace indoors to keep your vehicle it might be in your best interest to look into a car cover. Vehicles sitting in the same place for too long will become covered in dust, dirt, pollen, and whatever else the elements throw at it. This can lead to rust build-up amongst other things.


  • Drive Semi-Regularly: Taking your vehicle out for brief drives every week or so will help circulate fluids and make sure that parts like the transmission, brakes, and the piston stay lubricated. If left to idle longer than this, you might start to notice issues arising that weren’t there before.


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