Sudden non-operation of your vehicle for a long period of time can actually do some harm. Vehicles were built to be driven on a regular basis to keep fluids and seals in good working condition. Just like regular exercise is good for you, driving is good for a car. However, when circumstances prevent you from driving, what should you do to protect your vehicle?
Tips For Keeping Your Car Running Well During Non-Use
- Drive your vehicle for at least 30 minutes each week to keep the car battery strong. A single trip that takes up this time is best as driving will send a continuous charge back to the battery.
- If you don’t have plans or the opportunity to drive your vehicle for the minimum amount of time each week, consider disconnecting the battery. This will keep systems such as the radio from draining the vehicle battery while not in use.
- Clean your battery cable terminals by using an old toothbrush or wire brush to guarantee a strong connection and maximum charging capability.
- Fill your tires to the manufacturer’s recommended air pressure, which is located on a sticker in the driver side door panel.
- If you have the means to safely store your vehicle for more than 30 days, put the car on jack stands and remove the tires.
- Engine oil should be changed at the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended service interval – which can be found in the owner’s manual – so the engine remains properly lubricated. If it’s time for an oil change, visit a drive-thru shop.
- If your vehicle needs repairs or service now, be sure the shop you take it to complies with the CDC’s recommendations for cleaning, disinfecting and interacting with the public. Otherwise, review your owner’s manual for recommended service intervals and take stock of what to fix at a later date. Note: Service intervals can be stretched.
- Disinfect your vehicle’s surfaces – like the door handles, steering wheel and gear shift – each time you use it.
- Don’t use the parking brake if possible, as the brakes can get stuck to the calibers when engaged for an extended period of time.
- Use a car cover to protect the paint after the vehicle has been cleaned.
Keep critters out by covering your muffler and engine bay. Park the vehicle inside a closed garage if you can.
- Check your auto insurance coverage so you know the protection for each scenario.
You can also handle vehicle maintenance items specific to your car with the help of your owner’s manual. These include changing air filters, replacing windshield wipers and topping off engine fluids. Touchless car washes are a great place to clean your vehicle’s interior and exterior of car if you’re not able to at home. Treat your gas with an additive to prevent it from going bad (yes, gas has an expiration date) before filling up the gas tank.
A proactive approach to protecting your vehicle from a potentially long rest will help ensure it is in good working condition the next time you drive. Remember to speak to a Mercury Insurance agent to review your auto coverage, which will help put aside any worries.