8 Tips for Taking Care of Your Car If You’re Not Driving It Regularly
Cars are engineered to be out and about on the roads.
When they stand idle for any length of time components can seize up, seals and cables dry out and flat spots develop in the tyres.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be an auto-technician to maintain a vehicle you’re not driving frequently.
All that’s required is a bit of effort, a regular self-maintenance plan and the occasional run around the block.
Follow these tips to ensure your vehicle operates like a well-oiled machine the next time you take it on the road post-lockdown.
1. Top up the fuel tank
As counterintuitive as it may seem, filling up the fuel tank prior to a long layover is best practice.
A full tank inhibits the formation of rust and corrosion inside the tank, which prevents rust from getting into the fuel lines, clogging up the filters and lowering the fuel pressure.
2. Wash, wax and polish
A good wash, wax and polish protects the exterior of the car and reduces corrosion.
When you neglect to apply a protective layer to the vehicle, bird droppings, moisture, dust and grime can permanently damage the paint.
3. Adopt a park-smart approach
If you can’t park the car in a garage or under cover, find a suitable parking spot. Avoid grass and other soft, permeable surfaces as corrosion-forming moisture can form on the undercarriage.
Don’t leave your car under a tree for any length of time because twigs, leaves and birds will deposit a mess.
4. Preserve the battery
When a car isn’t being driven, the first thing to go is usually the battery.
The power-pack that keeps the engine running and the electrical components ticking over can drain quite quickly, especially in cold weather. This will depend on the age of the vehicle and the condition of the battery.
The easiest way to preserve the battery while still in the car is to connect it to a trickle charger. Alternatively, you can disconnect and remove the battery, and reinstall it when you’re ready to hit the road again.
5. Disengage the handbrake
Avoid leaving the handbrake engaged for a prolonged period of time. It can cause the brake pads and discs to fuse, and the brake system to seize altogether.
Instead, leave the car in gear, providing it’s parked on a flat surface. Place bricks by the tyres.
6. Extend the windscreen wiper life
When underutilised, windscreen wipers can take a beating. The springs and metal joints can corrode, and the rubber blades can perish and stick to the windshield.
An easy solution is to wrap the arm and blade of each wiper in thick plastic.
7. Take it for a spin… often
Starting the engine and driving the car – even if it’s only around the block – is the best way to prevent potential problems associated with a stationary vehicle.
Take the car for a spin at least once a week to help:
- keep the parts well-lubricated and operational
- prevent the tyres from forming flat spots due to the weight of the car
- ensure the battery is fully charged and revving to go.
8. Give the air con a blast
Don’t forget to give the air-conditioning system a blast every time you take the car for a drive.
That way, you will maintain the integrity of the seals and tubing in the unit. This prevents mould and mildew developing in the air-circulation system.
Get bigger loans at enhanced terms with a well-maintained car
A finance-free vehicle in good condition is not only great to drive and cheaper to maintain, it can be used to secure an instant cash loan at attractive terms.
At Pawn My Car, we specialise in providing vehicle-backed loans that are designed to help you through tight spots, such as the COVID-19 lockdown.