When you don’t use your car regularly, you may find that problems start to appear. A vehicle’s internal machinery has been designed for regular use, so without due care and attention, things could become damaged.
Here are some of our top tips for keeping your unused car healthy while not in use.
Is the Gasoline in the Tank Safe?
Over time, gasoline does degrade, but most modern cars have sealed fuel systems that limit the amount of fuel oxidation and help to prolong the life of your fuel. Experts estimate that the gasoline in your tank will last from 2-6 months, assuming that you have a full tank that reduces gas-tank condensation.
If you have concerns about the gasoline in your car’s tank going bad, it is possible to treat the fuel with a stabilizer, which could prolong the life of your fuel for up to two years.
Do I Need to Check My Car’s Tire Pressure?
Keeping an eye on your tire pressure is vital for the performance, safety, and mileage of your vehicle. It also contributes towards the even wear of your tires.
Over time, your tires will naturally lose air, so you should check them regularly to check the pressure and maintain it at a level recommended by the manufacturer.
If your car isn’t driven or a while, tires could be at a higher risk of getting flat spots. Taking your car out for a brief drive can help with this, but you can also add some additional air if you aren’t expecting to drive for a while. A good rule of thumb is to add 5-10 pounds of air more than you would typically.
When you return to driving again, make sure that you check that the pressure in your tires is set to the recommended pressure. Find the recommended rate on the sticker placed on the driver’s side door.
Is My Car Battery Likely to Die?
Out of all of the components of your car, the 12-volt battery system is the part most likely to be susceptible to problems if it is inactive for a more extended time.
Some of the more modern high-tech vehicles have computers that are always on alert monitoring the systems, and these can absorb energy. If the car has been sitting and not recharging, it’s possible the battery could be drained entirely within two weeks.
To prevent this, you can start the engine of your car at least once a week and let it run for approximately 10 minutes.
Do I Have to Change the Oil?
Driving less frequently does not mean that you should delay or push back your oil changes. If the car hasn’t been driven in a while, the oil could deteriorate due to fluctuations in outside air temperature.
To find out how frequently you should change the oil in your car, check the manufacturer’s manual, which will tell you the maximum time you should leave it if you haven’t reached the mileage intervals.
Will My Car’s Brakes Be Safe?
When a car is inactive, rust can form on the rotors of the brakes, especially if the vehicle has been left outside exposed to the elements. Rust can happen in a matter of a few days if the weather has been variable.
As you drive, this rust gets in the brake-pad lining and can lead to noise, uneven braking, and brake-pedal pulsation. Take the car for a brief drive at least weekly to help minimize rust build-up.
There can also be problems with the parking brake. If it has been in place for a while, it may become more difficult to release. Like the regular brakes, using it regularly will keep it in excellent operating condition.
Check for Debris
If your car is parked outside, make sure that it isn’t parked under a tree in springtime or autumn, as falling blossom or leaves can get caught up into the vehicle’s ductwork and damage the blower motor.
Try to check under the hood periodically to make sure no animals are nesting in the car.
Hannah Ross works as a marketing professional and strategist at Luckyassignments.com. Based in New York, she loves reading and writing about topics that are in her field of passion and knowledge.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.