Tips for maintaining your car while not in use

There are times where we find ourselves driving less frequently.

Between seasonal downtime or a change in routine, it’s still important to maintain the upkeep of your vehicle.

From the inside to the outside, there’s a variety of things you can do to prevent issues once it’s back on the road.

Here are some tips on maintaining your car while it’s not in use.

Run your vehicle

To maintain engine health, it’s integral to continue running your car – even if there’s less opportunity to do so.

It’s recommended to turn your vehicle on every few days, even if you don’t plan on driving it anywhere, this can ensure fluid continues to cycle through the engine and prevents pooling.

Running your car also protects an important power source – the battery.

Taking your car for a short drive – long enough to get it warmed up- will keep the battery charged and reduce the likelihood of it running flat.

Cleaning

Put aside some time to clean the inside and outside of your vehicle if you intend to store it.

For the interior:

  • Remove any food, wrappers, or drink bottles that could attract rodents or pests
  • Vacuum the carpet, seats and shake out the mats
  • Wipe down the dashboard
  • Add an air freshener

For the exterior:

  • Wash away hard-to-remove dirt
  • Clean the windows
  • Polish
  • Wax

Once you thoroughly clean the car, make sure all the windows are rolled up to ensure dust and contaminants don’t get in.

If your vehicle will be out of use long-term, consider getting a cover if you don’t have a garage or carport to store it under.

This will help reduce damage from the elements and prevent moisture build-up if it sits outside.

Properly covering your car also protects the paint and can ensure leaves or bird droppings don’t fall on it.

Did you know? – leaving bird droppings on your car for a long period can permanently damage the exterior paint.

Related: How to wash your car like a professional

Oil change and fluids

Your oil must be changed regularly for your car’s longevity.

Check your oil dipstick and keep tabs on the colour, if it begins to look black and dirty, it must be changed.

Antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, and brake fluid deteriorate with age, so remember to check on these regularly too.

Related: Car servicing and maintenance checklist

Tyre pressure

Your tyres naturally lose air over time – that’s why it’s important to check their pressure regularly and ensure they align with the manufacture’s recommendations.

Did you know tyres can get flat spots if your car hasn’t moved in more than 30 days?

Inspect your tyres, and if necessary, re-inflate them to the right pressure.

Fill up the tank

Filling up your tank seems redundant if you aren’t driving regularly but, it’s essential to keep your car healthy.

Topping up your tank helps prevent corrosion in your car’s fuel lines and engine, and the build-up of condensation, while also helping reduce the chance of rusting.

Remember….

Although your vehicle is experiencing downtime, it’s important to keep up with its regular servicing schedule. Check the manufacture’s handbook if you’re unsure when your next one is due.

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