It’s not out of the ordinary to leave a car unused over a prolonged period of time. In fact, with almost everyone working from home, some even remotely, it has become increasingly normal to leave the car parked for many days. However, even during normal conditions, one often leaves the car unattended for many days while being on an extended vacation or when one needs to shift homes but can’t take his or her car along immediately. In such cases, what happens is that the car suffers some unwarranted wear and tear and requires extra maintenance to have the car running again. Today, however, we’ve come up with a definite car storage checklist that offers you the essential tips to store your car for long term.
It’s only habitual to engage the handbrake when you turn off the ignition and leave your car. However, in case you plan to store your car for the long term, make sure you do not engage the handbrake. Putting the handbrake on over a long period of time can lead to the brake pads getting stuck to the discs or the drums, which would, in turn, lead to increased wear and tear. Therefore, it’s best not to put the handbrake on when you plan to leave your car over an extended period of time. Instead, you can use wheel chocks or put a piece of wood or brick to prevent it from rolling. Also, you can leave the car in first gear.
The second tip on our guide on how to store car for long term is to park the car indoors. Doing so will not only keep your car cleaner but it will also reduce the wear and tear from rain and sunlight. Also, if parking outside, make sure you put a car cover on. Doing so will, once again, protect the paint finish of your vehicle. It will even keep your paint protected from minor scratches that occur from the dust. However, don’t put a car cover on in case you leave your vehicles inside. Doing so will help you avoid any sort of moisture build-up in the humid weather.
The next point in our list of tips to store you car is about spark plug care. In case you plan to store your car for long, it is advisable to remove the spark plugs and spray some oil in the plug sockets before you put the spark plugs back again. This will help you avoid any sort of rust build-up inside the cylinder head by keeping away the moisture. Moreover, you can put to use fuel additives that offer a protective coating to the internal surfaces of the engine. However, make sure you don’t put in excess of oil; a few drops would suffice.
The next tip on our guide on how to store car for long term is something that might sound obvious but many of us often forget about it when it’s actually time to store a car. One should always give the interior a thorough cleanup before leaving the car. Make sure there are no crumbs of food left inside. Also, avoid leaving old water bottles and newspapers inside as all this could rot and damage floor mats, seat covers and even the wiring. Therefore, before you leave your car for long term, make sure you clean the interior thoroughly and leave an air freshener inside.
Many people think it’s best to leave only little fuel in the fuel tank when storing car for a long term. However, this is a huge misconception. One should always leave enough fuel inside the fuel tank before leaving car unattended over a long period of time as it will prevent rusting of the fuel tank. In fact, even add some fuel additives. Doing so will avoid any moisture getting inside the tank, thereby prevent rusting.
When leaving the car battery for long, it is advisable to disconnect the battery. Also, one should apply petroleum jelly or grease on the battery terminals and the wire ends to prevent corrosion. Also, before leaving the car unattended for long, make sure the battery is fully charged and the water level is topped up. The battery should be stored in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight.
You car’s paint can suffer increased wear and tear if it’s left parked outside for a long duration. This can happen even if you’ve put a cover on as dust and moisture tends to seep into the cover. In order to prevent any sort of damage, you should clean your car’s paintwork thoroughly by removing all the dirt and grime. Next, apply a coat of polish and wax to keep the moisture away, followed by a car cover.
Cars that are left parked for a long period of time tend to develop flat spot in the tires. In order to avoid this, use four jacks or four blocks of wood or bricks so that the car doesn’t rest on its wheels. This will prevent permanent damage to tires.
The next tip on our list of best way to store cars is to change the fluids, such as the engine oil, and the filters before you leave the car parked over prolonged period of time. It needs to be noted here that used oil contains moisture and metal filings and even other corrosive bits like sludge. Leaving this oil in the engine could lead to corrosion of vital parts. Hence, it’s best to change all the oils and install new filters before leaving the car parked for long. However, do drive the car for a bit before you park it as it would help the new oil circulate throughout the engine.
The last tip on our guide on how to store car for long term is to inflate the tires correctly as proper inflation help in the prevention of the formation of cracks in the sidewalls of tires. It also prevents the formation of flat spots. Also, check all the valves to ensure there is no leakage.