Do These When Your Car Has Been Idle
No movement and extensive parked and stationary storage can adversely affect your car’s appearance and performance. There are things to keep in mind and inspect to keep your ride in tip top shape. Internal and external issues need prompt action to avoid costly repairs and clean ups when you hit the road again.
Internally, you would want to keep moisture in check to avoid rust and dried out rubber and plastic components. Under the hood and the under carriage, the main things to check are your fuel systems, brakes and other fluids.
Fuel – It’s key to keep your fuel tank full to avoid moisture build up and rusting of your tank and pump. When rust and moisture build-up, the filter, lines and jets could get clogged.
Brakes – Long term storage means your calipers, shoes and pads can get stuck-up. It is best to disengage the parking brakes and use wooden chucks or large stones to keep the vehicle from rolling off uneven pavements. Inspect fluid and look for leaks and top up when necessary.
Engine lubes and fluids – Engine oils and other fluids keep your moving parts conditioned and protected. Inspect levels and top up engine oil, coolant, power steering and brake fluids if need be.
Passenger cabin – Moisture tends to build up inside the car. Fogged up windows are a key sign that condensation is present. Open doors and windows and let air circulate to avoid mildew and the funky smells from forming. Dust the interiors and vacuum carpets and panels once a week.
Externally, the paint job and tires take the most beating from prolonged storage. Both heat and rain can ruin your car’s exterior finish, so it is best to wash it down and wax it if it has been under nature’s elements too long.
Paint – If you do not have a roof or indoor garage, it is best to invest in a good car cover that fits your vehicle and is lined to prevent scratches. In fact, even cars parked indoors can still be damaged by pets and bird droppings, so a cover gives it an extra level of protection.
Tires – Left unattended, tires will deflate over time and go soft. If this happens the tire walls or subject to abnormal loads and damage. Check tires weekly and air them when pressures are down. You can see recommended pressures on stickers on the driver door jamb.
Start your car every three days to condition your batteries and circulate fluids. Turn on the air conditioner to blow dust off vents. Take a short drive or move the car forwards and backwards to engage steering and gears, reposition tires and burn off moisture build up in the engine. Your car was meant to be driven and keeping it idle and neglected will inevitably result in damage.