How long can you leave a car without driving it?

How long can you leave a car without driving it?
Maintaining a car is a serious responsibility for all drivers, as avoiding simple tasks could lead to large bills to get the vehicle back on the roads.

Even if you don’t drive very often, it is important to keep up a routine of getting behind the wheel and go for a drive.

There are many reasons for this, and this guide will give you all the information you need.

Problems with not using your car

If you do not drive your car regularly, then there are several serious issues that could result in costly repairs.

The most common, and costly problem is draining the car battery. If the car sits idle for too long, the battery can drain and eventually die, especially in cold weather.

Knowing what to do if you have a flat battery is important, but leaving your car for too long without driving it will result in it needing to be replaced.

Other issues that could happen if your car is left idle for too long include flat or rotten tyres. They lose air pressure over time, leading to flat spots. This means they will need to buy new tyres.

If the car sits in one position for too long, the tires can develop dry rot and cracks, especially in hot or sunny conditions.

Modern vehicles include many tools and gadgets that make the driving experience better – but leaving your engine off for loo long with cause electrical connections to corrode. It can also lead to malfunctions throughout the engine.

Fluid and fuel problems can also happen, as they can degrade over time, causing the car to run poorly. These are expensive problems to fix.

If the vehicle is left exposed to the elements, then rust and corrosion will happen. Also, crucial parts of the vehicle, including the brakes, can seize up.

This issue can also lead to seals in multiple parts of the vehicle break down – leading to mould and rot appearing.

Finally, if a vehicle is left for a long time, you could end up with an infestation of rodents and insects.

How long can you leave a car without starting it?

The length of time a car can be left without starting depends on various factors, including the make and model of the car, the condition of the battery, the climate, and how the car is stored.

However, there is a general understanding that leaving a car for up to two weeks will more than likely mean that you vehicle should be fine, with minimal risk to the battery, tyres, fuel, or fluids in the vehicle.

How long can a car battery sit unused?

If a car battery sits unused for more than a month, then the battery can start to drain, and the fluid can degrade.

Fuel can also start to form a sludge in the lines and injectors.

What to do when leaving your car parked

In order to prevent having any unnecessary issues when leaving your car turned off for an extended period of time, there are some important steps to take.

Up to a month

If you are looking to leave your vehicle up to a month without turning it on and driving, then there may be some issues to be aware of.

The battery may start to weaken, especially if it's older or the car has many electronic systems that draw power even when off.

There may also be slight flat spotting and pressure loss on the tyres.

Also, if the vehicle is left exposed to the elements, then the surface of the vehicle or brakes may show signs of rust or corrosion.

To avoid suffering these issues, store your vehicle in a garage or use a car cover.

In order to keep the battery in the best condition possible, disconnect it or use a trickle charger.

3 months

For drivers who are leaving their vehicle for up to three months, then the issues regarding battery, fuel, fluids, and tyres are worse.

You’ll need to top up your fluids – or completely swap them out.

If the tyres are damaged, then you will need to get some replacements. By inflating them to the maximin recommended pressure before leaving them, then you may save them from damage.

Laying up a car

Laying up a car, or preparing it for long-term storage, involves several steps to ensure that it remains in good condition while it is not being used.

Here are the best steps to take to make sure your car is ready for laying up:

  • Clean the car
  • Change fluids
  • Disconnect battery
  • Inflate tyres
  • Move the vehicle as often as possible
  • Do not use parking brake to avoid seizure
  • Use an EV car cover
  • Store in a climate controlled environment if possible
  • Drive the car for more than 20 minutes every few weeks to avoid issues

Getting your vehicle back on the road

If your vehicle has been off the road for the last few weeks or months, then there are some important steps to take before you get behind the wheel.

First, inspect the car for any damage, rust, or mould. Clean it if necessary and then check to see if all the lights work.

Check the battery, fluids, and fuel for any issues before turning on the engine.

After this, check tyre pressure and the condition of the four tyres. While doing this, check the state of the brakes.

Before starting the engine, you may need to do some serious checks of the engine to ensure that it is road legal and safe.

Call for a mobile mechanic, who can take an expert look at your vehicle.

If everything looks right, start the engine, and let it sit idle for a few minutes. This will let the engine pump fuel and fluids into the necessary parts of the vehicle. You will notice if there is a problem.

Getting your vehicle back on the road can be done at home, or with the help of a mechanic, but if you would like to have complete peace of mind, drive it to your nearest local garage.

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