This week in preparation for holiday travels we wanted to share some car tips about keeping your car in the best shape when you aren’t using it at all. If you have a car, and don’t use it very much, you could save big on car insurance with Metromile’s pay-per-mile insurance. Get a free quote now!
Cars are wonderful instruments of convenience. They allow us to live freely, save time and stay connected to the people we’re closest to. That’s why it’s ironic the troubles a car can cause you if you’re leaving for an extended amount of time. There are plenty of reasons why a person might leave their car. We all have demanding responsibilities to our families and work that might demand unique things from us. Vacations, moving between states – the list goes on and on.
But cars aren’t meant to be neglected. Leaving without preparing and securing your car could give you fits once you return. A new battery is nearly a given and you might even run into more severe issues like engine trouble. You can save yourself that headache with a little know-how. Here are our top car tips for keeping your car in tip-top shape when it isn’t being used.
- Disconnect the battery : By unplugging the negative charge of your battery, you’ll save yourself the trouble of needing a new battery once you return. The electronic parts of your car drain you battery slowly even when the car’s not being used. This is especially an issue in newer cars. Be sure to wrap the negative end in a thick cloth so it will not touch anything else.
- Top off your fluids: One of the biggest dangers to your car when you’re gone is moisture. Outside moisture can get into your gas tank, your engine, and plenty other placed where it can wreak havoc on your car over a prolonged time. By going to get your car serviced and your fuels topped off before leaving, moisture will have a more difficult time getting to the places where it can hurt your car the most. Another issue here is that impurities can leak to the engine. By putting in new fluids, you remove the possibilities of impurities that can hurt your car.
- Get a full tank of gas and a fuel stabilizer : Remember that fluids thing? Same issue here. A full tank will repel outside moisture. Adding a fuel stabilizer is another great tip if you’ll be gone for a longer period of time.
- Put the car on a jack :If you’re going to be gone for months, putting your car on a jack will save the tires. Tires can develop flat spots that render them faulty if left in one place for too long.
- Cover it : Finally, make sure to cover your vehicle’s exterior. This is especially vital if you’re storing it outside. Dirt and other debris can leave stains on your paint if left for prolonged periods.
Car Tips: Storage
The first issue is pretty simple: Where can I safely store my car? Many people opt to leave their car with a friend or family who can keep an eye on it and potentially drive it around a bit. This is a great solution if you can find something so convenient.
There are still issues, however. A car that’s parked on a street for prolonged periods of time is always at risk of being towed. And if your car-sitter cannot make the time to give your vehicle’s engine a chance to heat up and work a bit, you’ll still need to make some precautions.
Another option is a vehicle storage facility. This can include outdoor parking – like at an airport – or even something indoors. These facilities will provide you a secure location for your car with constant supervision. Depending on your needs and how long you’ll be gone, these are a great place to start.
Car Tips: Security
We all leave things in our cars that we use regularly. To save on the hassle of emptying your car and locking everything up tightly, picking the right place to monitor your car will be another major convenience.
Take the time to look up local laws on parking and car ownership as well. It’s good to double check that sort of thing to prevent any issues. Especially considering you won’t be in town to fix any troubles that may arise.
Car Tips: Preparing Your Car
Sitting for prolonged periods of time isn’t healthy – and that’s just as true for cars. The battery will bleed away it’s charge, the gas can breakdown and moisture can damage car parts. But there’s plenty you can do to keep your car running smoothly once you return.
Note: If you are a Metromile customer we do not recommend unplugging your car battery as this will cause the Pulse device to stop sending us your mileage data. We do recommend you call us to let us know your travel plans so we can assist.
The easiest solution really is having a friend or family member help you with your car. But if you’ll be gone for longer than just a few weeks, it’s not always feasible. It’s always better to know how to treat your car and keep it safe.
Alex Briggs is a contributing writer for Ship a Car Direct.