Is Your Vehicle Fit For The Road?
Stuff to watch for in your vehicle after not driving it for a while because of being stuck at home
Did you know that not driving your vehicle for prolonged periods of time can have a negative impact on your vehicle?
One of the guarantees of life is that we are all going to go through different seasons and some of those seasons will be winter ones. I'm not talking about the cold weather, snow on the ground type of winter, I'm referring to the winter of our lives when things get hard and we discover that what once was is no longer a reality. During 2020 a lot of people found themselves forced into a winter season of life in the span of a few weeks. This meant being stuck at home for months, either working from home or not working.
For many people being stuck at home meant that they were probably not driving their vehicles consistently for quite a while. This may have been a great thing for your finances as you weren't paying for gas or going out shopping or going out to eat all of the time, but not driving your vehicle for prolonged periods of time can be harmful in different ways.
Now that governments are slowly lifting restrictions and we are able to go out more often, there are some important things to keep in mind and check on to make sure your vehicle stays in top shape.
Your whole vehicle is connected to your battery in some way, and there are several things that we may not think about that would deplete the battery, including all of the computer operating systems that most modern cars and trucks have.
To help your battery out, plug your vehicle in when it's not going to be used for a prolonged period time.
Taking your vehicle on short trips every couple of days, just to get out of the house and to get everything flowing will also help keep your vehicle running smoothly.
Vehicles that are parked for a long time have a higher likelihood of developing flat spots. The pressure in tires decreases while sitting still due to tire porosity. But once you start driving again the pressure will increase due to the temperature increase in the tires. Proper tire pressure is important for vehicle performance, safety, and gas savings and so it is recommended to check your vehicle's tire pressure before driving it again.
Your Fuel Tank
If, after your car has sat for a long time, it will not start when you go to turn it on, it may be that your fuel pump broke down during the time it had been sitting. This happens because the car’s fluids were not running through all of the various components built into the car, which lead to damage over time. If your fuel pump is, indeed, causing you problems, it is important to get it looked at and fixed or possibly replaced as soon as possible.
Also note that gas will go bad over time, not in 2 months, but it is something to keep in mind as you're getting ready to drive your vehicle again.
The fluids in your vehicle will deteriorate over time if your vehicle sits immobile for too long. Such fluids include your oil, antifreeze and others. Oil changes that are part of the vehicle maintenance should be carried out, even if necessary mileage has not been done. During your oil change have your mechanic check your other fluids as well to see if any of them may need to be drained and replaced in order to avoid damaging your engine.
Taking your vehicle out at least once a week is recommended, but once it is about to go out on the road after sitting unused for a long time, vehicle maintenance is essential to ensure that it is safe and roadworthy.
This should include:
- Engine oil check and top up if necessary.
- Brake, clutch, and transmission fluid levels check and top ups, because they may have dropped.
- Coolant levels should be checked to ensure they are not at minimum levels.
- Rubber hoses should be checked as they tend to crack when not being used, including your fluid lines.
- Check all belts because they could have gone slack.
- Check all wires.
- A tire pressure check is vital because they may be over- or under-inflated.
- Brake rotors as rust can start to build-up on them, especially in vehicles parked outside.
Every vehicle should be started at least once a week and taken for a short drive to avoid all these problems.
If the car or truck won’t start, it may have a low battery or other more serious issues. Endless cranking won’t help it to start if there is an underlying problem. It may need to be jump started or inspected by a mechanic.
One final tip: If the vehicle starts at the first attempt, it should be left to idle for a few minutes before speeding off on an adventure. This allows the oils and other fluids to first circulate properly so that your vehicle is good to go.