Working from home? Staying inside? Even if your car sits in the driveway, problems can arise. Here's how to prevent them.
While you’re spending more time at home during the lockdown, your car may be parked in the driveway for extended periods of time. But that doesn’t mean it is ok to put off maintenance. In fact, even though you’re not adding to daily wear-and-tear, letting it sit idle for too long can cause problems.
Depending on how long your car stays unused, different issues can arise, such as dead batteries, stale fuel, rusty brakes or issues with rodents and other critters. We’ve got tips to help.
Here are ways you can keep your car running smoothly during your driving hiatus:
- Clean it well. Make sure you get any hard to remove dirt off of the paint and take it a step further by polishing or waxing the exterior. Don’t forget the interior!
- Gas up. If your vehicle is going to be idle for more than 30 days, fill it up to the brim. This will help prevent moisture from building up in the fuel tank. Add a fuel stabilizer to the tank when full (stabilizers have a shelf life of three months and may help keep the fuel lines and engine from corroding).
- Inflate the tires. The temperature will fluctuate and then the tires can slowly lose pressure. Remember to inflate to the recommended air pressure for the tire, and not to over inflate. (The correct pressure can usually be found on a placard on the driver-side door jamb).
- Top-off fluids. This includes the brake fluid, engine coolant, windshield wiper fluid, power steering fluid, and transmission fluid (if applicable). Consider performing an oil change if you know the vehicle will be seldom driven.
- Protect the battery. It will eventually lose its charge if it isn’t driven at least two or three times a week. A trickle charger or battery tender with an automatic shut-off feature will keep the battery in good condition when the vehicle isn’t being driven.
- Keep it covered. A quality cover that securely fits the vehicle will keep out moisture and allow proper air flow. A cover protects the exterior from bumps, scratches and dirt. It might also be a good idea to put steel wool in the air cleaner intake and exhaust pipe to keep unwanted small animals and critters from using it as shelter from the cold.
- Go for a spin. Drive your vehicle at least once or twice a week for a minimum of 30 minutes. It will get the fluids circulating, prevent flat spots on tires, and remove rust spots on brake rotors (which can lead to brake pulsations, if not caught early).
Following these tips will ensure a smooth ride when you’re finally back out on the road again!