Car care tips for long term parking are very important to be aware of and follow. How do you take care of your car when it is parked for a long time? Your car may be in storage or has been sitting in the garage for a few months now. It’s been a long year. In the US, it looks like there is still some time before life will return to normal again.
Whether it is the pandemic that has you in, or you live in a climate where there are extreme winter weather conditions, car maintenance is probably not the top thing on your mind. Unfortunately, this can cause parts of your vehicle to wear down, which means you will be looking at incurring some hefty car repair bills. Here’s how to prevent these bills from happening to you.
Store your vehicle in a garage for long term parking, if possible. Get a car cover if you can’t park it in a garage. Look for an all weather one if you will be leaving it out in changing weather conditions, like winter weather. Be sure that your vehicle is clean before you place a car cover on it. A car cover placed on a dirty car can damage the paint.
Be careful what you park near if you cannot park it in a garage. Make certain the vehicle is not under any large trees, as bird poop and tree sap are killers for auto paint and auto windows. Park your vehicle on concrete or gravel rather than on surfaces that soak in water, like grass or dirt. This is an important car car tip for long term parking, because the moisture can cause the bottom of your vehicle to rust quicker.
Avoid leaving any valuable items in your vehicle while it is sitting for long periods of time. Obvious valuables sitting out make your vehicle a target for theft and break ins. Keep all doors and windows locked at all times when unattended.
Wash and wax the car before putting it into storage. By doing this, you can prevent any ground in dirt to stay on your vehicle. Paint can be ruined by one tiny dust particle. Waxing also helps repel any dirt your vehicle may collect while sitting. If your vehicle is stored outside, ensure that it is washed often.
Do not let your vehicle become a home to any rodents or other small animals while it’s parked. Put rodent traps or repellents in the garage with your vehicle. A great car care tip for long term parking can be peppermint oil. Peppermint oil is a natural rodent repellent. Try soaking cotton balls in some oil and placing them in the car. Be sure not to touch the peppermint oil to any wires or sparks. Before storage, thoroughly clean the interior of any food scraps. These can attract rodents and other small animals.
Fill up the gas tank. This helps reduce condensation in the gas tank from building up. It is wise to add gas stabilizer to the tank as well if you are leaving the car for more than 30 days. If you are leaving the vehicle for 6 or more months, such as one would during a long deployment, it is best to drain the fuel.
Check your tires regularly. Tires lose air over time. Tires filled with nitrogen leak less than those filled with oxygen, however. Tires can get flat spots if the car hasn’t moved for 30 days, so consider rolling the vehicle front and back every 2 weeks or so. If the car will be stored outside, consider covering the tires to prevent UV damage. If any of the tires have gone flat, change the tire and get it replaced as soon as possible.
If your car is staying parked more often than not, get your oil changed from a time based standpoint rather than a mileage based one. Do this by being sure to get the oil changed every 6 months, even if you’re well within the mileage limits. According to motortrend.com, if the vehicle won’t be started at all while sitting, it’s a good idea to change the oil before starting it for the first time to get any water condensation out of the oil.
Any extra battery maintenance may not be needed if you are driving the car regularly. Start the car and drive it for a short period of time at least once each week to keep the battery in shape. Always keep in mind that batteries drain faster in cold climates. Battery maintenance is an important car care tip for long term parking if you are parked long term in cold weather.
Completing regular maintenance on all other parts of the vehicle regularly and on time. Time can degrade a lot of a vehicle’s parts, so make sure it is all taken care of properly to avoid this.
If you will be away from the vehicle for a long period of time, your battery will likely drain in your absence. A trickle charger, a device that plugs into a standard wall socket and attaches to a car battery’s terminals, is a great option to keep the vehicle’s battery charged in this case.
Driving the vehicle for short bursts of time also helps keep all of the car parts lubricated and working correctly. A car sitting for a long while can cause fluids to dry up and seals to dry out. Move it at least once a week, even if it is just a few times around the block, to keep everything flowing correctly.
Try not to use the parking brake if the car is going to be in the same place for a long time. Weather, like high humidity and cold weather, can cause them to freeze. Assure the vehicle is safely secured in its place, though.
Run the windshield wipers with fluid at least once per month. This will ensure that your windshield wipers have not dried out. The sun can dry out the windshield wipers and cause them to stick to the glass, otherwise.
Before You Drive
Check all of the fluids before you start your car after it has been parked for a long time. Using the dipstick, check your oil level, as well as the transmission fluid levels. Visually inspect all hoses and wires before driving the vehicle. Confirm that the tires are at the right air pressures and volumes before taking it out on the road.
If you follow these car care tips for long term parking, you can rest easy with your automotive maintenance while sheltering in place for whatever reason. Of course, if anything has happened to your auto glass while it’s been parked and you need some help, contact us here on our webpage or call us at +1 (469) 494-3807.