Does My Car Need Maintenance if I Haven’t Been Driving? | Scott's Fort Collins Auto

Does My Car Need Maintenance if I Haven’t Been Driving?

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As the world has been social distancing and staying home, many of our cars have just been sitting in our driveways and garages. Does your car need maintenance even if it hasn’t been driven much in the last few months? The answer — it might! Here’s what to know about getting back on the road. 

What Happens When You Don’t Drive? 

Cars are meant to be driven. However, in the middle of this pandemic we’re not driving much, which means many cars are just sitting still, collecting dirt, dust, and whatever else the weather throws at it. With that being said, some car parts can begin to degenerate as they sit idle for long periods of time. Reader’s Digest explains these things that could happen to your car if it stays parked too long:

  1. The battery can lose charge. You might not realize it, but your car is still working even when you’re not driving it. Think of it like your laptop or cellphone, it’s running inside at all times. If you’re not going to be driving, be sure to unplug power-consuming devices, like phone chargers, before leaving it parked for a bit. 
  2. Tires can lose pressure. When tires sit still, they can develop flat spots. Tires can lose pressure quickly, but taking a quick drive around the block can help prevent this problem from happening. 
  3. Ants can show up. If you shut down suddenly with the rest of the world and didn’t clean your car out well beforehand, those old French fries are calling out to ants. If you have your car sitting, do yourself a favor, clean it out! Don’t leave things that can attract ants overtime. 
  4. Fluids can go stale. Fluids are a critical component in keeping your car functioning like it should. From brake fluid, to steering fluid, oil, and more, your car needs them all. When a car sits still for a long time, the fluids can go stale and not lubricate their parts as they should. 
  5. Air conditioning seals dry up. If you live in an area where it gets hot, you don’t want your air conditioning seals to dry out. This can lead to integrity issues and you can lose freon. 
  6. Your gas tank can have problems. If you parked it close to empty, your tank can build up moisture which isn’t good for it. Alternatively, if it was close to full, it could overflow as the weather gets warmer and the gas expands. Neither situation is ideal, and can cause a number of problems. 
  7. Damage to the exterior. If you park under a tree, tree sap can create a sticky mess that can damage the paint. If you notice tree sap, it’s important to clean it as soon as you see it with a tree sap cleaner. Additionally, bird poop can also deteriorate the paint.

How to Prepare Your Car to Sit

It’s never too late to start doing the right thing. If you anticipate that your car will be sitting for more long periods of time, it’s important to prepare your car for storage. A few things to keep in mind are:

  • The location of where you will store the car. This is important to prevent it from being stolen or damaged by someone else or weather. 
  • If it will be a long time, disconnect the battery so it doesn’t die. 
  • Prevent flat tire spots by driving the car around the block every couple days. If it’s going to be sitting where you can’t drive it, make sure you’re adding enough air to inflate them to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. 
  • Give the exterior (and interior) a thorough wash and cleaning. If you can wax the outside, even better! This will help keep the paint in good condition. 

Call Scott’s Auto

If your car has been in storage for too long and you need it thoroughly inspected, call our team of professionals at Scott’s Auto. We know exactly what to look for to make sure you get back on the road as quickly and safely as possible. Make an appointment at one of our two locations now —- or just stop on by! 


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