Are you planning to be away from your car for more than a month at a time? If so, you’ll need to make some special preparations.
It’s tempting to think that your car will be exactly the way you left it after a long time away. But the reality is, there’s a lot of car maintenance you get to skip when your vehicle is in regular use. If you’re looking to leave for a while, these five tips will help you give your car the care it needs.
1: Find a place to store it
Cars take a surprising amount of damage from the elements. Hot days can wear down the paint, and wild animals can even get trapped under your car. It sounds silly, but this happens more often than you’d probably think.
If you have a garage you can use, you already have this step covered. If not, consider finding a place to store your car while you’re away.
2: Wash it
Generally speaking, washing and detailing your car is an underrated technique to extend the life of your vehicle. It gives you a chance to clean up gunk that’s been accumulating on your car and even prevent it from rusting. For these reasons, you’ll want to give your car a good clean before you leave it for a while.
3: Cover it
Even if you wash your car, you don’t want dirt to get caked onto it while you’re away. Besides, this will help retain that clean car shine for when you get back.
If you don’t have access to a cover for your car, you could skip this step without that much consequence. However, for anyone who has the capacity to cover their car, you have a lot to gain for, not a lot of effort.
4: Fill the tank and change the oil
Yes, you want to fill your tank despite not planning to use your car. Empty oil and gas tanks can cause moisture to build up, which can lead to rust. Similarly, old oil can also become contaminated, which is equally harmful to the insides of your vehicle. A full gas tank and a fresh oil change prevent both these things from happening.
5: Remove the battery
If your car is inactive, your battery is going to die out. At best, this is an inconvenience, and at worst, your battery can actually start to corrode. If you can safely remove the car battery and store it in a temperate climate, you can ensure that no serious damage is done to your vehicle while you’re gone.
Alternatively, if this sounds too complicated, you can try arranging for someone to take your car on the road once or twice per week for about 30 minutes. This obviously won’t be a viable option for many people, but it’s still a surefire way to avoid car battery issues while you're gone. If you decide to go this route, just make sure your car babysitter safely parks and covers your car the way you left it. After all, the only animals going wild in your car should be you and your friends.