Believe it or not, a car sitting idle for just a few weeks could develop some severe issues. So, if you find yourself driving less frequently (hello, everyone who’s working from home) don’t just pat yourself on the back for saving petrol – You’ll need to keep up with a little bit of maintenance to keep your car on top-top shape. Not sure where to begin? Here are x easy hacks for maintaining a car that’s not in use:
1. Get your vehicle running
Modern cars have a horde of electronic components that drain power from the car battery even if your car is parked. This is otherwise known as a parasitic drain and means that your battery runs the risk of going dead in just a matter of weeks if not recharged.
Now, your car’s alternator helps to prevent the above from happening, but it only works when you get your engine going. Even if you really don’t want to drive, ensure that you crank up your engine at least once a week, or better yet, a few times a week. What you’ll need to do is leave your car engine running for about 10 to 15 minutes so that the alternator can do its magic. Remember to turn on all your car’s systems, like the air conditioning!
If you have the time, taking your car for a short drive every week can help recharge your battery and keep your car oils healthy.
2. Clean your car
Now, we know that your car might seem like a near-impenetrable fortress of steel to you. But what you might now know is that your car’s paintwork is vulnerable to stuff like the elements, bird poo, and other funky stuff. And when it comes to these things, time is of the essence.
When rainwater evaporates, it leaves behind a layer of dirt and minerals that inevitably damage your car’s paintwork. As such, you’ll need to give your four-wheeled beauty a good wash if it’s been caught in bad weather – That is unless you’d prefer for your car paint to get duller and duller.
When it comes to avian feces, damage to your car’s paint can occur within just 48 hours (egads!). The horrible thing that’ll occur is that the bird poop will dry out, wrinkle or fracture on your car, and start to bond with your car paint. So please work quickly to remove bird droppings from your car as soon as possible.
Apart from cleaning the exterior of your car, make sure you keep the inside clean as well. The rubbish that’s unknowingly left behind, stains, and more easily go unnoticed and could cause you more problems than you deserve.
3. Change your car oil and other fluids
Your car holds a bunch of different fluids and oils within it, and if they aren’t maintained well, they will deteriorate and cause costly wear and tear to your car. For example, dirty transmission fluid turns into an ineffective lubricant for your vehicle, and because it’ll be unable to disperse heat properly, this will cause your car’s transmission parts and clutches to take a hit.
This is why keeping up the maintenance of your car’s servicing schedule is crucial even if you’re not driving frequently or are planning to leave it idle for some time. Remember, it’s cheaper to maintain than replace!
4. Check your car’s tyre pressure
If left alone for too long, your tyres could start to lose pressure or develop flat spots – both of which will give you a bumpy, thumpy ride that’ll get you praying for your life. If you’d like to keep your car in good shape, and not put the lives of your loved ones in danger when you next use your vehicle, it’s important that you check your tyre pressure regularly and make sure that they’re up to your manufacturer’s guidelines.
If you’re going to leave your car stationary for some time, bid the chance of a tyre puncture goodbye by checking your tyres regularly.
5. Fill up your tank
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Although you won’t be driving your car, you’ll need to keep your tank full so as to prevent condensation and evaporation from happening. Any moist air in the tank will condense in cold temperatures, and water and other elements will eventually cause nasty things like rust and mold to develop.
One other neat trick that prevents condensation is getting your engine started and warming up your car.
If you’ll be storing good ol’ four wheels for more than a year, please drain your tank to prevent your fuel from damaging your car.
Your safety depends on your maintenance
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When cars are left idle for long enough, tons of unexpected problems can occur when you’re next back on the road. If you’ve left your car stationary for a long time, it’s good practice to go for a short test drive before going on a longer journey – You’ll be thanking your lucky stars if you manage to spot or hear a problem before you hit the road for a long drive.
If you’re looking for trustworthy mechanics who can help with the regular maintenance of your car, we’re here to help.