5 Car Care Tips when Parked at Home
Has your vehicle been sitting for a few weeks, or not being driven everyday with the current situation? The longer a vehicle sits unused, it is more likely to develop issues. A few simple vehicle-care techniques can keep your vehicle running down the road for years to come.
A vehicle’s battery, tires and fluids are areas to watch and can be maintained with simple actions and keeping a vehicle clean to protect the paint can be a great family-friendly activity.
There are a few simple car care techniques for drivers to remember when they may not be driving, or driving infrequently. If a vehicle requires more attention, remember that at Bismarck Motor Company, we offer complimentary service pick-up and delivery to assist with vehicle service and repairs all from the comfort of your home. Please contact us today with any questions or to schedule your next service appointment.
- Keep the battery charged – Over time, your car’s battery can discharge and leave you needing to jump-start your car. You can plug your vehicle into a battery tender if you have one. Or if you know your car will be sitting for a long time, you can always disconnect the battery.
- Drive around the block – this keeps the battery charged and fluids circulating. When left unused, brake rotors can begin to develop rust on the surface of the rotors. If you leave your parking brake engaged for a long period of time, it can actually cause the brake pads to bind to the rotors. While this shouldn’t be a concern over a few weeks, if you know your car will be parked for a month or more we recommend leaving the parking brake off.
- Check the fluids – maintaining proper oil and transmission fluid levels will prevent problems down the road. Fuel can separate, and water vapor can accumulate in your gas tank. Gaskets and hoses that aren’t kept lubricated can dry out and become brittle. Our long-term storage advice can help if you’re planning on letting your car sit for three months or more, but the current situation likely doesn’t call for those measures.
- Maintain recommended tire pressure – The biggest concern with tires is flat-spotting, which is when the weight of the vehicle sitting on one spot flattens out a portion of the rubber on the tire. While flat-spotting isn’t likely to happen in two weeks, if conditions are right, a month of being stationary might be enough to cause problems. Low tire pressure and very cold weather can both contribute to the development of flat spots. We recommend starting by checking your tire pressure and inflating them to factory specification. You can find manufacturer recommendations for tire pressures either on the placard attached to the door sill of the driver’s door or in your car’s manual.
- Wash your vehicle regularly – If your vehicle is parked outside it’s likely to accumulate dust, bird droppings, and other contaminants such as tree sap or water spots from nearby sprinklers. Over time, exposure to the elements can damage your vehicle’s paint. If you can, we recommend parking under cover or using a weatherproof car cover. If droppings or other localized contaminants do get on your paint, you can use a spot cleaner and a soft cloth to protect the paint, especially for vehicles parked outdoors. — If you would like to have us take care of a complete vehicle clean, you can schedule an appointment with our Bismarck Motor Company Detail Center to have your vehicle professionally cleaned inside and out.
- BONUS: Make sure to check for unwanted guests – Mice and other pests can cause real trouble for vehicles in long-term storage. Take reasonable steps to protect your parking area from common pests, and if your car has been parked for more than a few weeks, we recommend popping the hood and taking a look for any evidence that wires or belts have been chewed on. Also keep an eye out for furry stowaways in your engine compartment and around the top of your tires in your wheel wells.