By Madeline Klein
Maybe your husband is in the military and deployed. Maybe you have a kid in college who’s car sits in a parking lot 85 percent of the year. Or maybe you have that “fun” jeep you finally splurged on that you only drive in the summer.
No matter the reason, if you have a car that spends most of the time sitting in your drive or your garage, you’ll want to look into how to best maintain your vehicle. The following tips will make sure your car stays healthy and is ready for you when you need to take it for a spin.
Stay up-to-date on your oil changes
Manuals typically suggest an oil change every six months or 5,000 miles, whichever comes first. If you have a car sitting unused, you’ll still need to get that oil change every six months. You may not be driving your car, but fluids break down over time. Getting an oil change every six months will help make sure your ride is ready to roll at a moment’s notice.
Drive your car every once in a while
Every few weeks you should try to drive your car a bit. Even if it’s just a few miles on the highway or for a quick trip to the grocery store, that will help prevent any build-up under the hood and keep your vehicle running more smoothly. It will also let your battery recharge, which will keep it from dying. No one wants a dead battery when they need the car for a late night ice-cream run.
Top off your tank
If you leave a car unused for too long the inside of the fuel tank can start rusting. Before you park a vehicle for any kind of extended time, make sure to fill it up with your fuel of choice. Not only will this keep it from rusting, but it will also mean it will be ready for that last minute road trip your friends convince you to take.
Don’t forget about your tires
A slow leak in your tire can really sneak up on you. You may leave your car one day and come back three weeks later to a flat. Always keep an eye on your tires and ensure they have plenty of air at all times. Temperature changes can impact the air in your tires, so if you aren’t driving your car often, you’ll want to keep the weather top of mind. Make sure your valve caps are nice and tight, and you’re tires are filled to your manual’s suggested pressure. No one wants to use Roadside Assistance for help with a flat if they don’t have to!
Keep your car clean
This may seem like an obvious one, but you’ll want to do a good cleaning on your car if you don’t plan to use it for a while. Get rid of any old food containers that could attract bugs or critters. This will keep your car smelling fresh and will make sure you don’t have a new furry friend who found a way in your vehicle.
These tips will help ensure your car stays good as new, even if you aren’t using it often. And with these maintenance tips for a healthy car year round, your vehicle will be a driving machine. A little bit of forward thinking will save you the headache of twisting your key and realizing your battery died, or the ugly surprise of a flat tire after a few months of not driving.
Posted September 25, 2018 in Life Hacks.