Like anything in life, cars that are not regularly used and given the proper attention will suffer from issues. The car’s battery, fuel and tyres are components that are commonly affected.
Our Northern Beaches mechanics recommend starting it from time to time to prevent components from experiencing wear and tear, especially if you are not regularly driving. We also advise letting a professional take a look through a car service before
driving after being parked for a long time for safety reasons.
The Common Issues For Cars That Are Not Regularly Used
There are many different reasons that cause car owners to leave their vehicles unused for months or even longer. While there are several explanations, all vehicles suffer similar consequences when not used for weeks. Cars left in the garage for a long time can significantly impact every part. These are usual issues that sprung due to cars not being regularly used:
- Flat Batteries: A flat battery is the common cause for a neglected vehicle. Main reason being is that the power depletes as it is still being used when not driven. A battery can last approx 4 weeks to 2 months without being driven before it becomes flat.
- Flat tyres – Tyres can get warped, flat or depleted when a vehicle is left in the garage or parking lot for a long time. When driving the vehicle after months of not using it, our Mona Vale mechanics recommend checking the tyre’s air pressure. We also advise checking for bubbles in the tyre as it could cause a blowout when driving around.
- Bad brake and rotor – Rusting is a common issue for cars remaining idle for a long period. After detecting rust on the brake, rotor and any component, it is best to send the car to a trusted mechanic for a brake service. Skilled professionals have the skills to provide the best solution to this problem.
- Contaminated oil – Fuels do go bad. For unleaded fuel, it usually goes bad in 3 to 6 months, while it takes about 6 to 12 months for diesel. Car owners can check if the oil has already become viscous. Having this kind of oil spells big trouble for the fuel pump. If this is the case, it is best to remove the fuel or have it done by an experienced mechanic.
- Damaged vehicle bodies – For cars parked for a long time under the scorching sun, they could be heavily damaged by external factors. Heavy rainfall and other extreme weather and temperature could cause paint to wear down and expose the vehicle’s body to rust. It could also cause cracks and other serious damage.
- Infestation – Aside from having a damaged vehicle body, leaving a car unattended for a long time can result in spiders, mice and other pest infestations. It does not matter if the vehicle is in a closed garage or an open parking lot. We recommend keeping the vehicle covered when leaving it unused for days or even months.
Impact of an Unused Vehicle on the Car Battery
A dead battery is the most usual consequence of failing to regularly start a vehicle. The battery can die as soon as 4 weeks after the car has been left unused for days. A car battery dying is the result of the electronic components continuously working despite it being parked for a long time. This repercussion is why mechanics strongly recommend starting the car at least once a week and letting it run for about five to ten minutes.
Mechanic Recommendations When Leaving a Car Unused for Months
Our experts recommend doing these things to prepare a car when it will not be used for a long time:
- Add fuel stabiliser – The good news is that there are products that could be used to keep fuel fresh for up to two years. These products help keep gasoline from degrading and damaging other components.
- Charge the car battery – Hooking the battery up to the correct charger helps prevent dead batteries. There are two kinds of car battery chargers available – one for use for discharged batteries and the other for charged batteries.
- Wash the vehicle – Removing dirt is still a must, even when not regularly using the car. Dirt and other contaminants can contribute to rusting and paint damage. For those living in an area where rust is common (especially near the ocean on the Northern Beaches), it is best to have a vehicle undercoating or other rust protection.
- Keep it covered – Infestation of spiders and other pests is higher when the car is uncovered. Cars not parked in a closed garage are also exposed to external factors like sun and rain. For owners parking their vehicles in an open space, it is best to invest in a car cover to keep it protected from external factors such as weather and rodents.
- Add fresh fluids – Our Mona Vale mechanics recommend changing the fluids before parking it for a long time. Leaving used engine oil, brake fluid, and power steering fluid undisturbed for months can cause damaging consequences to the components. Having new fluids can help prevent these issues from sprouting.
- Put it on blocks – Using jack stands significantly helps prevent tyre issues after months of not using the car. This method takes the weight off the tyres and helps avoid deformation.
- Do not engage the parking brake – Using the parking brake is a must in every situation. However, mechanics do not recommend using it when the car will be left unused for an extended period of time. Engaging the parking brake can fuse with the drum or rotor due to rusting. You can block or wheel chock to prevent the vehicle from rolling.
Contact the Top Northern Beaches Mechanic for Car Service and Repairs Today!
Here at Peninsula Auto Clinic, our Mona Vale mechanics are always ready to help. Our team has the experience, knowledge and tools to get any car component checked and repaired in no time. Each mechanic in our team has completed the requirements laid down by NSW Fair Trading and have undergone the required courses, Certificate II in Automotive Servicing Technology and Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology. With these requirements, our Mona Vale mechanics have been offering car inspections and repairs like brake service, exhaust repair, 4WD service, among other vehicle inspections and car repairs for more than 25 years. To experience why locals in the Northern Beaches region continue to trust our Northern Beaches mechanic, contact Peninsula Auto Clinic now!