Maintaining Your Vehicle When It’s Not in Use

By Lori Straus

Leaving your vehicle inactive for several weeks or even months doesn’t give your car a rest. It can actually damage your car if you don’t properly maintain it. In this blog post, we’ll cover the basics of maintaining your vehicle while you’re not driving it often, if at all.

Clean Everything Out

Before shuttering your car while you wait out the pandemic at home, clean it out. Not only do you want to get rid of any germ-causing waste, but you also want to make your car less attractive for rodents and six-legged friends.

So take everything out, from the old fast-food bags to empty tissue boxes and coffee cups, and throw it out. Then wipe your vehicle down with disinfectant wipes if you have them, just to be on the safe side.

Wash Your Car

Wash your car down if possible. Although using a car wash is ideal, only do so if it’s allowed and you’re not sick nor have come into contact with anyone who may have been sick or contagious. Otherwise, a wet cloth will have to do. Do not do a proper car wash on your driveway.

Check Your Car Every Few Days

Once you get into a new routine at home, you may forget about your vehicle. Look for the following:

  • Condensation forming on the interior. This can make your car attractive to mice.
  • Signs of rodents or insects.
  • Bird poop and any other unwelcome dirt on the exterior.

Deal with these problems as soon as you discover them.

Charging electric shock the vehicle batteryMaintain Your Battery

Every week or two, drive your vehicle, even if it’s just a few times around the block. This will keep your battery charged, parts lubricated, and tires from forming flat spots.

However, if driving the vehicle isn’t feasible for you, then at least idle your vehicle for a few minutes and roll it forward or backwards a little so that the vehicle is resting on fresh spots on the tires. Although not an ideal maintenance task, doing these two things are better than nothing.

Drive Carefully When You Return to Driving Regularly

Think of how you feel after you’ve been sitting too long: stiff. When you get up and joints creak and pop, you probably take a moment to make sure everything’s in working order before you get moving. Your car will be the same after not having been driven often over a stretch of time.

Once you return to your regular schedule, give your vehicle a quick inspection. When you drive your car those first few days, go easy on it, and no hard braking if it can be helped. This goes even if you were able to take it for a quick spin every week.

Pay special attention to anything that sounds familiar or somehow seems off. If you detect anything out of the ordinary, book an appointment with your mechanic as soon as possible. You don’t want to leave any potential problems for too long, because it will just cause more damage and cost you more money down the road then if you look after it now.

And last, enjoy your freedom again and congratulate yourself for having done your part to help the world.