Maintenance Tips For A Car That’s Rarely Driven

While a car is an essential part of our daily lives, for various reasons, recently, your main vehicle may not be needed as much. While this may slow the need for services like alignment in Longmont, that doesn’t mean that you can’t take any care of it at all. The same thing applies to vehicles that, by nature, aren’t driven year-round, like collectibles or seasonal vehicles. However, aside from a place to keep it, what is the best way to manage a vehicle? Here’s what those infrequent drivers need to know.

Going Beyond An Oil Change In Longmont, CO

For one thing, rarely driving a vehicle doesn’t mean that you’re not driving it at all. Even if you find that you’re not the type of person to drive a vehicle much, you want to avoid having it completely inactive, if you can. A general baseline to get these cars out on the road and moving is roughly every two to three weeks or so. This minimizes your chances of a battery dying or you getting flat patches on your tires. These can be a minor hassle at best, and require auto repair in Longmont, possibly right when you finally need it. 

Part of what propagates this issue is many different people discussing leaving a vehicle untouched for months at a time with no problems. While this is possible, it’s not the norm. Most infrequent drivers, to stave off major issues, work to drive at least 10 miles a few times each month. If they can reach speeds over 50 mph, this is a big help. The reason why you want to do this over just idling in the driveway is multifaceted.

When you do just idle to “warm the car up” and don’t do anything else, this helps bring the engine to a typical temperature. That’s not a bad thing, but you also need more than that. By driving your vehicle a few miles, on top of that one benefit, you’re also helping to power up the transmission, strengthen the suspension, as well as help the brakes and climate systems. Better you put a little more into this rather than paying for an additional oil change in Longmont before you really need it.

If you find a set of issues with a car that’s not getting driven often, the first place to look is the battery. The batteries on an idle vehicle lose their charge a lot faster. If you decide to let it idle for a while in the driveway, this just makes things worse. Driving a vehicle for a longer period of time gives the car battery more of an opportunity to recharge. This is a better alternative than being caught needing a jump or some new batteries. Consider buying a battery tender if winter is coming and you know you’re going to be on the road less.

These aren’t the only issues that you can encounter, though. For one thing, if you let a vehicle sit in the driveway, it’s going to lose air in the tires. This means flat spots on the part of your tires that rest on the ground. With an occasional drive and putting in air, you can keep this from happening. Make sure that you don’t let any pests/rodents live under the hood or in the exhaust when a vehicle is in storage. Also, a major threat for corrosion is extra moisture in the gas tank. Finally, infrequent drivers still have a few preventative maintenance tasks to do, like changing fluids and checking some internal systems.

Storage Prep/Car Service In Longmont

Whether it’s for seasonal reasons or other reasons, sometimes, you may be committed to not driving a vehicle for a certain period of time. This may make a good occasion to go into long-term storage. Not only does this keep the vehicle safer, but you’ll also have less concern about wear and tear from extreme heat or cold exposure. The issue here is that you also lose the ability to get instant access. Be mindful of this and make sure you take care before stashing a vehicle, like getting your oil change in Longmont, CO, done ahead of time.

Something else to focus on here is your final detailing work, as this may be the last chance to do quite a few things before the final product goes into storage. As a starter, make sure you don’t put a car cover over a dirty vehicle, as this will just make things worse. Instead, just hand wash it first, being sure to get out any stains or sap. After this, you can apply a wax coat. However, there are other things to be wary of, like rust. Rubberized undercoating is invaluable here.

You can also do some detail work inside, as well. To start, clear out any trash and junk that’s accumulated. Beyond that, you may want to steam clean the interior carpet. If you do this, let it fully dry before you finally store things, to avoid any added mold.

But what about those pests we mentioned earlier? You may not be able to keep a vigil outside your vehicle, but there are some things you can do. For example, cheap dryer sheets have some repellant capacity. A mousetrap can also be useful outside, but never put traps inside a vehicle, as you don’t want a dead animal in the vehicle for a prolonged amount of time. Mothballs in socks are also a useful deterrent. 

If you put all this advice in mind, an older vehicle in weaker condition can still function well. However, if things shift and you decide you want to drive it more, you need to adapt your upkeep plan. You may need a more aggressive system of checks to keep things running well.

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