Maintain your vehicle, even when it sits idle

With much of the country under stay-at-home orders for at minimum another month, a lot of us are working from home, shopping even more on Amazon than before, and getting groceries delivered whenever possible. Those fuel savings are welcome to the budget right now, but when your vehicle sits idle for too long, the battery could die, the tires can develop flat spots, and the engine oil may start to deteriorate. A little vehicle check-in once a week will keep your car running safely and efficiently.


A car with a brand-new battery can possibly sit 2 months without running and keep a good charge, but this is hugely dependent on the vehicle and its power draw, the quality of the battery itself, the outdoor temperature, etc. Some vehicle owners find two weeks is too long for their car to start up without a jump. Start your cars weekly and allow them to run for at least five minutes. If the vehicle is in the garage, make sure the door is open and there is plenty of ventilation. Be aware that if you have to jumpstart your car you may experience drivability issues caused by an underlying issue that may have been previously masked by the computer software.


Vehicles that sit idle too long can develop flat spots that damage the tires. Help prevent this by periodically checking the tire pressure, and if you can, go for a short drive weekly to bring the tires up to their normal operating temperature before parking it again. If you are making essential grocery runs and have multiple vehicles, rotate which car you take.

Fuel tank:

You might be tempted to not bother filling up since you have no place to go, but keeping a full tank helps prevent moisture from accumulating inside the gas tank. Gas is the lowest price it has been in years, so take advantage and fill up. If you are planning on longer-term storage and are worried about the gas going bad, a fuel stabilizer can prevent it from deteriorating for up to 12 months.


Your engine oil absorbs moisture and deteriorates over time even when you aren’t doing much driving. Continue to change your oil at the proper intervals. Check your owner’s manual for the maximum time you should wait between oil changes.


If you didn’t get around to your spring car cleaning, do so now and give it a good wash. Winter road grit and leftover salt residue deteriorate your paint and accelerate rusting. If you have a garage, get your vehicle out of the elements and use it. If your car must be parked in direct sun, consider a UV-protectant product for the dashboard and interior.

Animal damage:

A long stay in a warm, cozy garage makes your vehicle very attractive to small rodents. The result can be thousands of dollars in damage to your wires, belts, and hoses. Check for signs of animal activity periodically and take necessary preventive measures.
Take a few minutes a week to maintain your vehicle, and you’ll ensure it will be safe and ready to go both in an emergency and when it’s finally time for life to return to normal. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your vehicle, please give us a call at 860-951-1083. We are here to help you!

Written by Hillside Automotive

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