How to Store Your Car During Long Trips
Vehicle Maintenance While You Are Away
If you’re taking an extended leave of absence, perhaps for college, military service or business out of town, your vehicle needs some special preparation. Of course this is only if you live on your own. If you live with a spouse or your family, it’s likely that they’ll use it or care for it while you’re away. However, if it’s just you and your car, and you won’t be driving it for at least a month, these are the steps you should take:
You’re not going to leave your car on the street for longer than a few days. Zoning laws usually forbid it, and nevermind the safety issues. If you have a garage, you need to keep it there. This removes it from shifting weather conditions and other environmental factors.
Speaking of environmental factors, it’s never a good idea to let your car go without a regular wash. Dust, pollen, dead bugs, bird splay, and other bits of grit will cling to your paint and eventually damage it if left on too long. Washing your car before you store it will remove any potentially corrosive items.
True, it may seem strange to wash and gas up your car before leaving it for an extended period, but that’s because we often think of these things as incidentals. In fact, these are essential procedures to keeping your car in its healthiest condition. The reason you fill up your gas tank before you leave it is because moisture and ethanol can build up inside it over time. This has the potential to foul your fuel system.
When you set your parking brake, the brake pads connect to the rotors. This is fine to do when you’re driving daily but if you leave your car long enough it’s possible for the pad to fuse to the rotor.
This may be an optional step. Ideally, you’ll have a friend or family member drive your car once a week while you’re gone. This will have a three-fold benefit: 1) It will keep your battery charged, 2) It will circulate your oil and fluids, and 3) It will prevent your tires from developing flat spots. If someone drives your car, they should do it once per week for about 20 minutes at a time. If you can’t find someone to drive your car, the best thing to do is to disconnect your battery and put your car up on jacks. If left idle too long, the weight of your car will bear down on your tires and create flat spots on the bottom. When that happens, the only solution is to buy new tires.
Unfortunately, rats and other creatures like to build nests in small, dark spaces – much like the inside of your engine or your muffler. Keep them out by blocking off their entry to any part of your vehicle that is exposed.