JUST SITTING AROUND
What you still need to do to maintain a car that’s not being driven
Cars - like people - have a hard time just sitting around. So it makes sense that
in this new pandemic environment, where people aren’t out and about as much
as they used to be, their cars are just hanging out getting unhealthy, too.
Like us, there are a few things that you need to do to be ready to roll when things
get back to normal. Consider these points to keep your vehicle in good shape:
1. Clean out your car and store it without personal items and trash.
Possessions could invite a break in. Trash, like food and beverages, can transfer
strong smells, leak, etc. (Rodents are always looking for a meal - don’t make it
easy on them!) Store your car with the windows up and the doors locked.
2. Protect the exterior.
A good coat of wax, tire protector, etc. A well-fitting auto cover can help protect
your car from bumps, scrapes and excessive dust. And, be sure to keep an eye
on the sky - it’s storm season out there!
3. Turn on the car every few days.
Even if you go nowhere, it will circulate the fluids and help keep everything
lubricated. Better than just sitting there doing nothing, why not take it out for a
little ride? This will also keep the battery charged. (You could opt to use a trickle
charger but be sure to not over-charge.)
4. Continue to perform routine maintenance.
Know that mileage is not always how to measure when your car needs
scheduled, routine work; timing also matters. Remember, fluids still age when
they are sitting, so you might want to use the “whatever comes first” rule.
Trent Pickering, co-owner of Pickering’s Auto Service in Lakewood and Arvada,
Colorado advises, “When you change your oil, you’ll usually notice a little label
on your windshield that your auto technician leaves to remind you when it’s time
to change your oil again. For most regular oil this will usually be set for 3,000
mile intervals, and for full synthetic oils it will usually be default to 5,000 mile
intervals or as recommended by your car’s manufacturer. Some cars also have
an internal setting and readout that reminds you when to change your oil. Pay
attention! This is a routine maintenance issue that should not be ignored.”
“Additionally, know that your driving conditions - like extreme dust and dirt and
mountain driving– can affect when your maintenance services should be
performed and may require that you do it sooner than originally recommended.”
Check out our Periodic Services page for more information on how to keep your
vehicles maintenance up to date!
5. Check for battery corrosion.
If you know you’ll be storing your car for an extended period, disconnect the
6. Move your car every week or two – preferably for 10+ miles and at speeds
up to 50 mph. Not only could it be the law, if you park on a city street, but this
will keep your tires from “settling”. Be sure to keep your tires inflated to the
proper levels as temperature variations can cause them to lose pressure even
when not being driven (especially in the cold). This allows the weight of the car
to rest on the flattened tire and may give you flat-spots that you’ll be able to hear
and feel when you drive your vehicle.
Allstate also gives additional advice on cars that are stored for longer periods -
like those at your mountain property, or classics that live in your garage until that
perfect weather day comes along and you take it out for a spin.
Fill up the tank. This prevents moisture build up in the tank. A fuel stabilizer
should also be considered for longer periods of vehicle storage.
Top off all fluids – brake, coolant, power steering, transmission, wiper,
antifreeze, etc. And, go out for a short spin to circulate everything before you
park your vehicle for any extended period.