Regular maintenance is a task that comes along with vehicle ownership. If you want to keep your car in tip-top shape, doing the timely inspection and following maintenance schedules is imperative. But what if your car is left to sit in the garage more often than it’s used? Contrary to the belief of many, a car that is hardly being taken out for a drive also needs the same upkeep you give to your everyday vehicle. Make sure your car is still in good running condition once you hit the road again by following these car care tips!
If you don’t plan to use the car for an extended period of time, be sure to clean it before storing it. Clean both the exterior and the interiors. When cleaning the exteriors, start from the top to the bottom. Wash it thoroughly to remove hardened soil and dirt. Polish and wax the outside and if there are areas unpainted, consider spraying them with a clear coat to keep them protected against rust.
Now, don’t forget to clean the interiors, too. Disinfect the high touch areas such as the steering wheel, doorknobs, buttons, etc. Get rid of the water bottles and food wrappers. Make sure no crumbs that will attract ants and rodents will be left around the seats and the carpets. Finally, check the trunk and make sure it’s empty.
Once the insides are cleared out, finish your cleaning by vacuuming the interior and leave a car freshener so that it remains smelling fresh when you’re ready to use it again.
Fill up your gas tank
Not planning to use the car for a while doesn’t mean that you have to leave the gas tank empty. Otherwise, moisture might build up in the tank. Therefore, if you think that you won’t be hitting the road for longer than 30 days, it would be best to get a full tank of gas. But if the vehicle will be sitting around for longer periods, you may want to consider using a stabilizer to protect the engine and fuel lines from corrosion.
Keep the tires inflated
Tires slowly lose pressure when the car is left in storage for a long period. Therefore, make sure your tires are properly inflated before leaving the car stored in the garage. Follow the recommended tire pressure for the vehicle and do not exceed the maximum. Do this every now and then while the car is in storage until you’re finally taking it out again for regular use.
Change car oil and refill fluids
This step is essential before leaving your vehicle dormant for long. Change the oil and top off fluids such as engine coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, windshield wiper fluid, and antifreeze. After refilling these fluids according to the recommended levels, circulate the fluids by taking the car out for a short drive before parking it in the garage.
Park the car in a covered space
Now that the car is ready for storage, be sure to park it in a sheltered or covered space like your garage. However, if this option isn’t available, what you can do is to use a good quality cover that securely fits your car. The cover should be breathable to keep moisture out while the vehicle is on break from the streets. What you want to make sure of is that your car is kept away from small animals that may cause damage to your engine as well as any potential scratches and damage on the exterior.
Protect the battery
The car battery will eventually lose its charge if you’re not driving the vehicle for weeks. However, it doesn’t mean you have to run the car to keep the battery charged. What you can do is to connect the battery to a charger or a battery tender that automatically shuts off when the battery is fully charged. This way, you won’t have to worry about getting the battery overcharged.
A car that is seldom used or is left to sit in storage for longer periods still requires proper maintenance. This will help ensure the vehicle remains to be in tip top shape until it’s finally time to hit the road.
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