If you drive your car often, then you know how important it is to maintain it properly so it can deliver peak performance for years to come. However, it’s equally important to maintain your car even if you aren’t using it daily. In fact, it can even be argued that a vehicle in storage needs more careful attention than one that sees frequent action.
That said, here are some important things to do if you aren’t going to drive your car for a long time:
What to do If you are not going to Drive Car for a Long time period
As much as possible, park your car in a garage or any other indoor space. This way, your vehicle will be protected from the weather. It will also be more secure.
If you aren’t able to park indoors, then at least find a covered area to shade your car. If this option is still not available to you, then buy a high-quality cover that fits your car perfectly. You may also consider getting an indoor car cover to protect the paint against moisture and dust.
Check and Replace the Spark Plugs
A good tip if you aren’t going to drive your car for a while is to put a little oil into the spark plug sockets. The oil help keep away the moisture, preventing the buik-up of rust on the cylinder heads.
Before doing this, however, be sure to inspect the spark plugs. If they’re a little worn, particularly the tips, replace them with new units with iridium tips. These are currently the best ones in the market, boasting longer-lasting performance and better gas mileage than even platinum-tip spark plugs. Of course, make sure to get your spark plugs from a reliable source (like this store) for guaranteed authentic products.
Fill Up the Tank
Before putting your car in long-term storage (30 days or longer), it’s a good idea to fill up the tank. This will prevent moisture build-up and rust in the tank, as well as in the fuel lines. It’s also recommended to add fuel stabilisers since most fuels only have a shelf life of 3 months.
Last but not the least, make sure that the tank is properly sealed to keep out contaminants.
Check the Tyre Pressure
Even if you aren’t driving your car, its tyres will lose pressure over time. Thus, it’s a good idea to inflate your tyres up to their recommended psi. Then, before you take the vehicle out of storage, make sure to inflate them again. Check the owner’s manual or the driver’s side door if you’re unsure of what pressure your car’s tyres need to be at.
Aside from preventing flats, maintaining the right psi on the tyres will also reduce the risk of what is called tyre rot or tyre dry rot. This is when the rubber becomes brittle and develops cracks due to low inflation pressure, lengthy storage, and other factors.
Don’t Engage the Hand Brake
If the hand brake is engaged over a long period, your car’s brake pads can get stuck. In the worst cases, you’ll have to replace the entire brake kit; it’s certainly not ideal for your car or your wallet!
Instead, keep your car in first gear and then apply wheel chocks to prevent it from rolling away. Even bricks or small blocks of wood will do.
Keep It Clean
Another important task to accomplish before putting your vehicle in storage is to clean it thoroughly, inside-out. Leaving any debris can attract insects and other pests, which can damage your car’s interiors and mechanical components. In particular, rats can gnaw on wires and hoses; they can also leave their droppings and urine inside your car, resulting in foul odours and other kinds of damage.
For the exterior, give it a good wash. Take the time to remove bits of mud sticking to the tyres and undercarriage. Then, dry it completely. If you can, give the paint a protective finish such as a ceramic coating. Lastly and as mentioned earlier, using an indoor car cover can add an extra layer of defense.
Drive It From Time to Time
The truth is that cars are designed to run. Many of its parts, such as the engine and tyres, require activity to keep them in good shape. Running the engine, for example, ensures the proper circulation of fluids (including the lubricants). Meanwhile, regular motion can help the tyres maintain their flexibility.
If possible, take your vehicle out for a drive at least once a week. When circumstances really don’t allow you to drive, then at least start up your car and let the engine run for about 10 to 15 minutes. Aside from distributing fluids, this will also run the alternator enough to keep the battery charged.
Disconnect the Battery
If you won’t be able to drive your vehicle or turn the engine on for longer than a month, it’s better to disconnect the battery completely. This will prevent it from getting discharged, not to mention stop corrosion from forming on the terminals. Some mechanics also recommend putting a little bit of grease on the ends of the wires and terminals to prevent rust.
For the battery itself, it’s best to fully charge it and top up the water before disconnecting it. Then, store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. The heat can dry up the battery fluid, which can damage the internal components of the battery.
Don’t think that because you aren’t using your car means it won’t experience any wear and tear. Just like food, an improperly stored car will “spoil” much faster. Take note of these vehicle maintenance tips, just in case you need to put your car in storage, so you can keep it in good shape.