Car Care Before You Leave it Unused For a Long Time
Key concerns when your car is unused for long periods:
- Slow deterioration sets in
- Exterior body gets faded and corroded due to exposure to heat and rain
- Interiors can get damaged due to continuous weather exposure
- Critical components like the fuel system can get clogged
- Engine oil can get contaminated with sludge and acids
It is necessary to take certain precautions when you are planning to not use your car for an indefinite or long time period.
Effective ways to care for your car when it is going to be lying unused for a while:
- Protect your car from the forces of nature, preferably inside a building that’s cool, dark, and dry. If you don’t have a garage, try requesting a neighbour to rent out some space for you.
- If the vehicle is going to be completely sealed, place a few desiccant bags inside the enclosure to absorb any trapped moisture. If it is going to be parked outside without an enclosure, make sure you protect it with a multi-layered fabric or cover.
- Change the oil and filter. Used oil contains acids, moisture, and other combustion byproducts that, over time, can cause corrosion inside the engine. Drive the vehicle for a few miles to make sure the new oil gets thoroughly circulated.
- Pull the spark plugs and pour a few drops of oil into each cylinder before replacing the plugs. This will help prevent the cylinders from rusting.
- Seal off engine openings with absorbent cotton to keep moisture out.
- Remove the battery and clean its top with a mixture of baking soda and water.
- Use fresh fluids, including transmission and rear axle. Check the color of the brake fluid. If it looks brown and dirty, it needs to be flushed. Old brake fluid has a lot of moisture in it, which could cause rust in the system.