With so much extra time spent at home this year, it’s easy to forget to take your car on a weekly ride. Logic might dictate that less use is actually good, resulting in a longer life for your vehicle. But is it true? Letting your car sit for too long unused can have some surprising negative effects.
Though your car might have once been a valuable daily tool, you may find yourself in a position where you must contemplate the effects of long-term non-use on your vehicle. In the same way that we need to keep active in order to stay healthy, our cars need regular use in order to stay in good working condition.
Creating a habit of going for a weekly drive will reduce the chance of making an unplanned trip to the mechanic.
To convince you that you and your car need that routine drive, here are some of the reasons to take your car for a weekly ride:
Long-term storage affects the gasoline in your car. Improper long-term storage of gasoline causes it to degrade.
To lessen the rate of fuel degradation, it should be stored in an airtight container. If not stored properly, your fuel will begin to react with the oxygen in the surrounding air after roughly 30 days, culminating in unusable fuel after 3 to 6 months.
What exactly happens when your tank of gasoline goes bad? When stored improperly, fuel loses its ability to ignite thereby making it impossible to run the engine. Additionally, the deposits and varnish that long-term storage produces can negatively affect the fuel system when old gasoline is used.
Instead of wasting that task of gas and risking further car troubles, you can choose to spend it on preventative maintenance by driving your car weekly.
Car batteries are made to power the car and to receive power from the car itself. This is done through driving, as the car’s alternator replenishes the power of the battery while the car is on.
With typical car usage, car batteries are expected to last from three to five years, easily earning their price. However, without the process of replenishing the car battery through driving, car batteries may last only two to three months!
This drastic reduction in lifespan is due to the exhaustion of the power from the car battery without the chance to recharge the power with the car’s alternator. A weekly drive is certainly easier than finding a dead car battery before your next trip.
It’s worth noting that temperature also affects your battery’s ability to hold a charge. If you’re staying in a cold area, it’s best to pay attention to your car’s specific needs. Freezing temperatures might necessitate longer drives or regular drives more than once a week to avoid a dead battery.
Most metals rust, and it is a natural process that we can’t stop, but we can delay it, especially when it comes to cars that are parked long-term.
Since the speed of rust build up is highly dependent on the location of the car, early protection is a must. Moisture and salt are some of the most common elements likely to speed up the process for your car.
During the cold season, there is a lot of moisture, and winter roads are commonly treated with salt or sand. Longer exposure to these factors means deeper and quicker rust formation.
Taking your car for a weekly drive (and perhaps a regular wash) will help maintain it’s top-notch condition. If that’s not a good enough reason to add this task to your routine, take a look at our next tip.
Long-term parking can also affect your tires. No, they won’t be worn out because they sit in the garage for a long time, but the same friction that wears tires when moving also keeps it stationary when parked. Consequently, you’ll get more wear on the part of the tire in contact with the ground. This will eventually create flat spots on your tires.
As little as a month is enough to form flat spots, and it will affect the way your car drives. It can cause vibration while driving since the tires are no longer round. While not as detrimental as a fully flat tire, flat spots do prevent a seamless rolling of wheels.
In some cases, it’s been found that existing flat spots could be removed by a return of frequent driving, but there’s also a chance they’ll become permanent.
What do flat spots on your tires mean for you and your wallet? Unfortunately, it means you’d need to buy a new set of tires. When compared to the cost of new tires, a weekly drive doesn’t seem so bad, does it?
You might think that belts and hoses would last long when not in use. This is because most car owners are conditioned to assess the car components based on mileage. Contrary to this belief, belts and hoses are negatively affected by long-term parking.
When unused for an extended period of time, rubber naturally dries out and forms cracks. This included your vehicle’s belts and hoses. Using the belts and hoses for their intended purposes actually benefits them more by maintaining their flexibility and elasticity.
Regardless of regular use, it’s a good habit to check your belts and hoses for wear and tear. But regular drives will certainly keep you a happy car owner for longer. If properly maintained, your belts and hoses can last from three to five years.
No matter how well you protect your car components, they can still become vulnerable to pests. Pests are likely to seek refuge in stationary objects, and your unmoving car is no exemption.
Rats and mice are common car pests. They can infest your engine, seats, and insulation while wreaking havoc on your insulation and plastic components. Since rodents can easily maneuver from one place to another, it takes only a short time for them to chew through your vehicle.
The good news is that they don’t prefer to live in a place that is often disturbed or moving, so, driving your car weekly is not just for the benefit of keeping the components active, but also a way to keep the pests away.
Taking your car for a weekly ride can go a long way in preventing vacation-ruining troubles, but that’s no reason to neglect regular visits to your local auto mechanic.
American Auto Care/Automotive Services and Repair of Murrieta is ready to help with all your emergency or maintenance car needs. If you’ve learned the negative effects of long-term parking a bit too late, don’t worry. We can help get your vehicle purring again in no time.
Call us at (951) 461-2507 today for a quote or to schedule your service appointment.