There can be times when you are unlikely to be using your car as often as you would like. Even when you are not driving your vehicle, it is important that you take care of it so that it will be fully functioning if and when you do come to use it. This week, we take a look at what you can do to maintain your vehicle when it isn’t in use.
An empty fuel tank can lead to condensation. Under normal circumstances, this isn’t an issue as using the vehicle will warm up the tank and help to limit the amount of water gathering in your fuel tank. If you are not likely to use your vehicle for a while, it is a good idea to keep it topped up with petrol to prevent the build-up of condensation.
It’s not unheard of for the brakes to seize on a vehicle that has been parked for a prolonged period of time with the handbrake on. You can prevent this by hopping in the vehicle and driving it back and forth a few feet (or even around the block if you can). Don’t be tempted to leave your vehicle with the handbrake off, unless it is on private land and appropriately chocked.
How well your battery will withstand long periods between car use depends very much on the condition and age of your battery. If you know it’s going to be a long time before you use your car again, plug it into a battery maintainer, if you have one. Otherwise, make sure that you start the engine, and leave it running, at least once a week. If you are in doubt about the condition of your battery, pop into your local garage for advice on how to maintain it in its current condition; they may recommend that you invest in a new battery.
Cleaning your car
If you’re not able to get out and about in your car, this is a great opportunity to give it a good clean! Empty everything out (yes, we mean everything!), hoover, clean the upholstery and get into all those little corners that you never quite get to. Give your fluid levels a once-over: check oil, screen wash and water and top up if necessary.
If you are storing your car in your garage, don’t be tempted to run the engine while you’re in the garage. To avoid toxic fumes, drive your vehicle out of the garage and let the engine run with the vehicle in the open.
If you are in doubt about whether your vehicle is roadworthy after a period of little or no use, contact a local mobile mechanic, who will give it a once-over to ensure that it is safe to drive.