How to Keep an Unused Car Healthy

Mechanic Going Over Checklist

Whether you’ve recently lost employment, become a stay-at-home caretaker, or are simply driving less around O'Fallon, you should adjust your car care. A car, truck, or SUV sitting idly in your garage or parked in front of your house might look fine, but the longer it goes without driving, the worse shape it’s in. Auffenberg Kia is here with some car care tips for any vehicle that’s rarely driven.

Will Your Car Battery Die if You Don’t Drive Your Car?

The short answer is “it depends.” If you go too long without driving your vehicle, your battery will almost certainly die, but “too long” will vary based on how old your battery is and how well it’s been taken care of.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Modern cars have high-tech features that use multiple computers, and those computers are always on. They can slowly drain your battery in as little as a couple of weeks.
  • To avoid a dead battery, it helps to start your car once a week and run it for about 5-10 minutes.
  • If you have nowhere to go and your car is parked in a garage, remember to open the garage door or bring your car into your driveway for proper ventilation.
  • You can also use a battery tender or minder that plugs into a household outlet in your garage to keep your battery at a proper voltage — just be sure to connect before you go driving around Mascoutah.

Car Battery in Car

Will My Brakes Go Bad?

It might not be your first thought, but if you aren’t driving your car, it can actually affect your brakes. That’s right, even if you aren’t braking, your rotors are at risk of rusting — especially if you’ve parked your car outside in Smithton or Trenton.

If you’re able to take a brief drive once a week or so — for just as long as you’d run you car to keep the battery healthy — you should clear off any films of rust that build up. If you use your parking brake, you should be sure to set and release it periodically as well — many modern parking brakes are cable activated and it’s healthy to reduce the tension when possible.

Brakes

Will My Tires Go Flat?

If you have no leaks in your tires, you might still want to check the pressure. Tires naturally lose air over time, which can impact the longevity of your tires and the safety of your vehicle when you do drive.

If you know your car won’t be moving for a bit, it can actually be better to overfill your tires somewhat (5-10 psi), as this can help prevent your tire from developing flat spots from sitting in place for too long.

Flat Tire in a Parking Lot

Will My Gas Go Bad?

While gasoline does degrade over time, your fuel system is sealed and should minimize that. If you have a full tank, you reduce the risk of degradation as well as gas tank condensation — and you’re ready to go when you need to take those short drives to keep your car healthy.

If you’re particularly worried about the fuel in your car going bad, you could use a fuel stabilizer.

Hand Pumping Gas

Have More Questions About Car Care?

If you’re still curious about what other maintenance you should be doing to keep your car in top shape, don’t hesitate to contact our team or schedule a service appointment.

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