How to Maintain Your Car When You’re Not Using It


✔ COVID-19 has meant more people are staying home and not running their cars.

✔ If you car is not being driven, there are many parts that will stop working properly, so you need to take some extra precautions.

✔ To keep your car in tip-top shape, drive it at least once a week for at least about 20 minutes to avoid damage from sitting idle.

Although we live in a commuter culture, a lot of our daily habits have been disrupted because of COVID-19. The pandemic has made working from home, or working differently, a reality for many Canadians and as they have adjusted to this new reality, one thing that might not be top of mind is car care when you aren’t driving as much as you used to.

Vehicles are meant to be driven. When they are regularly used, when you go to work or run errands, all their moving parts get a chance to be lubricated and the battery stays charged. If your car sits in the driveway or garage for too long, you are taking the chance that it won’t start at all and could mean some costly repairs, which you can avoid with a few simple steps.

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Idle car battery care

This is probably the biggest concern with an idle car. Batteries slowly lose their charge when they’re not in use and starting your car will drain it some more as well. So, it’s not enough to just start your car – you want to drive it for at least a few kilometres to give the battery a chance to recharge itself. If you have lost too much power, you might need a jump start.

Tire maintenance on idle cars

Tires of course are meant to go round and round, so when a vehicle sits in the same spot for too long, that puts pressure on where the tires sit on the ground and they can develop flat spots. Tires also lose air over time. Proper tire pressure is very important to keep your vehicle running properly and keep you safe. You should check your tire pressure regularly to make they’re where the manufacturer recommends. You might want to invest in an expensive tire pressure monitor.

Getting an oil change for an idle car

You might think that if you don’t drive your car, you don’t have to worry about a regular schedule of oil changes, but that’s not true. Oil can deteriorate over time, especially with fluctuations of temperature. You should change the oil at minimum every six months, even if you’re not racking up many kilometres.

Fuel top-ups on an idle car

If you are planning to not run your car for a while, you should fill up the tank. This will help to reduce condensation building up inside the tank, which can lead to rust and cause damage to your engine.

Exterior and Interior maintenance for an idle car

Animals such as rodents like to make nests in idle cars, usually under the hood. Food they bring in can be a fire hazard and they can cause a lot of damage if they chew through wiring. If your car is in the garage, you can keep the hood up, which will help deter them. There are also mouse deterrents you can buy, but honking your car before starting it up and not keeping the car idle for too long will help keep them away.

If you are keeping your car outside, you might want to invest in a car cover to protect your car from dust and debris, especially during windy weather, as well as ultraviolet (UV) rays.

The bottom line is that you should start your car at least once a week and drive it for at least 20 minutes or so, ideally at higher speeds. That will protect many of your vehicle’s parts from damage, letting all the lubricants flow through the major components of your car.

Even if you don’t have a particular destination, you’ll know you’re doing your car a favour by driving it around for a bit, and it might be good for you to get out of the house as well to go for a spin.

If you need support, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, remember that we are all in this together. We are here to help too: contact with questions.


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