Image Credit: Samuel Giacomel | Unsplash
We know that no one has traveled anywhere since the Covid-19 pandemic became a thing. However, we’d be lying if we said we haven’t been desperately itching for a good holiday, and that the moment travel corridors open, we’ll be raring to go.
Now, let’s say the time comes, and you’ve booked your flight and accommodation. Your dear pet Fluffy’s going to be in good hands, and so are your precious plants. You’ve given a set of keys to your mother-in-law, and you’re good to go. But are you really? You’ll also need to get help to tend to your car while you’re away. Not convinced? Here are 5 solid reasons you should never leave your car unused for long periods:
Fact or fiction: Not using your car for too long damages it more than driving it daily
Consider this myth busted. Leaving your car untouched for extended periods can indeed be more damaging than driving it every day. Unsurprisingly, most people tend to believe not driving a car reduces wear and tear and in turn, causes it to last longer, but they are tremendously wrong.
What happens to a car that’s been unused for a long time?
Although not using your car for a long time helps you to save drastically when it comes to petrol, there are a few nasty things that happen when your car is unutilized, and if these things occur for long enough, it could result in costly consequences: For example, even if your car is unused for just a couple of weeks, your car’s battery runs the risk of going dead, and once it’s dead, your car will not start. And that’s not the only horrible thing that could happen:
1. Your car system’s fluids will coagulate
Firstly, the fluids in your car’s system will start to coagulate and eventually damage your car and lower its efficiency. This is due to the fluids in your car being stagnant and not circulating in your car’s systems enough. Is there really that much fluid in my car? Yes! Just as our human body contains much water, cars contain substantial fluids such as engine oil, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and more.
So remember, if you’re planning to leave your car in the car park for an extended period, please drain all of its fluids before you leave it alone. You can easily enlist the help of a professional if you aren’t sure how to go about it.
2.Unused cars: Batteries go dead
As mentioned earlier, leaving your car unattended for even a couple of weeks could cause your car battery to lose its charge and go dead. While this might shock you, once you remember there are many in-vehicle components like clocks, computers, and security alarms that continue to draw power from your car when it is turned off (aka. parasitic drain), a dead battery after a few weeks of idleness will become much more plausible and real.
3. The oil in your car will go bad
Now, the same goes for your car’s oil. Old, unused oil is harmful to your car, so if good ol’ four wheels haven’t been used for a while, you should make sure to have the oil replaced. And this is why:
Motor oil comes with an expiry date. Therefore, in time, oil goes bad just by sitting in the engine. Gradually, it loses its viscosity and becomes less efficient in maintaining proper lubrication between all the moving components of your vehicle. If your car is left unused for too long, your motor oil will break down sooner or later – After all, other substances in your car, such as hydrocarbon and water, will also contaminate the oil as you use your car.
This is why most manufacturers suggest an oil change every 5,000 to 11,000km, depending on your car and its type of oil.
4. Rotors and brakes go rusty in a sitting car
Unfortunately, rust will also enter the equation: Your brakes and motors will turn rusty if your car remains unattended for an extended amount of time. This is why you need to send your car to a reputable workshop if it hasn’t been used in a long while.
If you don’t want to go to the trouble of hiring a mechanic to ensure that your car is still in good working order, one simple solution is to ask a trusted friend or family member to help start your car every few days whilst you’re away. They’ll need to start your car, rev the engine for a few seconds, and then leave it idle for a few minutes after that. The good news is they don’t even have to drive your car!
5. The tyres of an unused car get into bad shape
Image Credit: Dietmar Becker
When your car is left to sit for too long, your car’s tyres could easily become warped, flat and deflated. Unfortunately, bubbles could also appear in your tyres and cause a bumpy ride or worse still, a blowout while you’re driving, especially if you’re going at a high speed. This is why it’s terribly crucial to give your tyres a thorough check before driving your car if you’ve left it alone for a long time.
Thankfully, tyres are not prone to warping and flattening in just a few weeks – It’ll take a few months of disuse before any tyre problems start occurring.
We’ve given you 5 solid reasons to never, ever leave your car unattended for too long – And by this, we mean a few weeks. Now we’ll leave it up to you to decide if troubling a close friend to help car-sit is worse than spending a bomb at the mechanic’s when you’re back from your holiday (and like the rest of the world, we’ve got our vaccinated fingers crossed).
If you’ve already made the mistake of leaving your car sitting for a few weeks and need help, fret not: We’re here to help get it back in good shape.