Cars are built to be driven, not to make them sit idle for weeks or months. It is important to know that not driving your car for months can affect performance. When a car is left unused then components start to corrode if it is not lubricated properly. Rodents may move in and chew on parts of a car made from organic materials causing damage to a greater extend. The tires and engine of the car need to be replaced if the damage is permanent.
Situations like a vacation or temporarily relocating for work may lead you to leave your car idle for weeks or months. Most modern car can still be started if batteries are recharged. Here are some points you need to check the problems before starting your car:-
1. Check the engine oil
The first step is to check the oil level in the engine. Checking the oil level is can be done using a dipstick. The engine needs to be cooled off before checking the oil level. If the oil is thick and gritty and dark in color, then it is time for an oil change. The oil level should not be low and it is recommended not to drive until the oil level is between the two indicator marks on the dipstick.
2. Check external lights of the car
Always check if fog lights, headlights, high-beam lights, brake lights, reverse lights and indicators before heading towards the road. Better to grab someone with you so one person can activate the lights and the other can check if it is working or not.
3. Check the leakages
Take a look at the floor under the car if there are any signs of leaks. You can judge the issue by the color of leaks, but it is better to have a professional inspect and diagnose the leak before driving.
- Light brown or Black shows signs of an engine oil leak.
- Brown or Red shows signs of a transmission leak.
- Brown, Clear or Red usually shows signs of power steering leak.
- Brown, Yellow or Transparent usually shows signs of a brake system leak.
Avoid driving if there is a fluid leak as it can leads to serious and expensive damage to the car.
4. Inspect car battery
If your car is idle for an extended period then there might be an issue with the battery. The car batteries slowly lose their voltage when it is sitting idle. A jump start is necessary when voltage is below the level to start the car battery.
After the jump start, let your car run for 5 to 10 minutes to recharge the battery. Before attempting to jump-start the battery make sure that there is no debris and corrosion in the battery. Car battery replacement is the only option if the car won’t restart after many attempts of jump-starting the car. Call an expert if there is a need to change the car battery.
5. Inspect car tyres
A visual check is necessary of tyres to know if they are in good condition or not. Air pressure needs to be adjusted according to the psi, you can find the recommended psi level on the owner’s manual book.
Car tyres may look normal while inspecting while driving, but once you get behind the wheels instead of a smooth ride you may feel the vibration through the steering wheel and unfamiliar noises from your car.
When tyres stayed still for a long time it has to bear a load of vehicle for an extended period. As the weight of the tyre is press down, the bottom of the tyre spreads into the ground which causes a flat tyre.
Driving a car makes tyres warm and recover flexibility, the flat tyre may disappear which usually take 15 minutes. In extreme winter conditions, these flat tyres are permanent. It either needs tyre repair or tyre replacement that depends on the inspection of flat tyres.
6. Check brake fluid
You can simply check the fluid levels by visual examining them. The fluid levels are markings on the translucent brake fluid. Remove the cap and note if the fluid looks dirty or healthy. If the brake fluid is low then there is a problem with your brakes that needs to be replaced as soon as possible. Dirty brake means that there is contamination and take to your mechanic.
7. Check the gas
As your car sits idles for a month, the lighter components and the gas eventually evaporates which makes losing its combustibility and less effective. Gas that has started to break down have a distinct foul smell. Old gas turns darker than fresh gasoline and stickiness start to form in the gas.
If the car is sitting idle for three months or more than that, then it is recommended to drain the tank. If the car is sitting idle for a month or two, then it is recommended to top up the fuel tank with fresh gas to dilute the old gas before it passes through the vehicle’s fuel system.
8. Check for rodents
When the weather cools off, rats and mice make cars their shelter which can cause serious damage to engine hoses, plastic panels and wiring. Here are some signs that your car has a rodent problem:-
- Bite marks on hoses and wires
- Food scraps in strange places
- Indication of wire damage.
- Unfamiliar noises
You’ll have to clean and disinfect the area around the nest which is likely to cause the damage. The best method to prevent the mice is using peppermint oil or putting mothballs.
Leaving your car sitting idle for more than 3 weeks is not ideal. It is a good option to start your vehicle a couple of times in a month when it is not being used. Starting a car and driving for 10 miles can warm up the whole car and can recharge your car engine which will be even useful in future. If you are out of town ask for help from your close friend or relative to spin the car.
Are you having trouble with your tyre, then worry not. Swift Tyre Specialist will provide you with the best tyre repair and tyre change services. They are the best car servicing in Singapore contact them on +6584843838