You have a beautiful European auto, or two, but you don’t end up driving it as much as you’d like, or as much as a daily commuter might drive it. You’re not adding much stress to the vehicle, but time is still having an effect on the vehicle. If you’re not driving often, do you still need maintenance?
Do You Need to Maintain Seldom Used Vehicles?
Yes and no. Your European auto will still need routine maintenance if you are not driving it frequently. It may just not need as much maintenance as it would if you were driving it. Plus, it may develop unique maintenance needs from sitting still for so long. One way to understand this need is to think of how oil changes are described by manufacturers.
You need an oil change at a certain amount of mileage, or after a certain period of time–whichever comes first. Old oil won’t function well, even if the vehicle hasn’t run. Many other aspects of vehicle maintenance work the same way, although you will be able to skimp on other maintenance issues.
If you want to keep the joy of your vehicle alive for as long as possible, performing regular maintenance is essential. Especially if you’re not driving it often, you should get a very long life from your prized possession. Here is how you can maintain a vehicle that you’re not driving very often.
Clean the Vehicle
The interior and exterior of your vehicle may still collect dust and debris even when you’re not driving it. Use soap and warm water and gently wash the exterior of the vehicle from top to bottom. Use a fine and soft cloth in order to avoid scratches. Then polish and wax the exterior.
Moving to the inside, you may find dust on the fans, screens, and other surfaces in the vehicle. Remove them with a quick swipe of a duster.
You can keep your vehicle a little cleaner between drives by putting a cover over it, or parking it in a garage, or both.
Handle Gas Issues
If you leave a vehicle tank less than full for long periods of time, like 30 days or more, it may develop moisture issues through condensation on the inside. So, be sure to fill up your gas before you park your vehicle.
In addition, if you let gas sit for long enough, it becomes unsuitable for use and can actually damage the vehicle. If you won’t be using the whole tank of gas for three months or more, add some fuel stabilizer. This will keep the fuel useable and prevent corrosion in the fuel lines and engine.
Check on Tire Pressure
Tire pressure is most affected by temperature change, not by driving itself. So, you will still need to check and adjust your tire pressure as often as you would if you were driving. Before you get behind the wheel, get out the pressure gauge, or rely on your vehicle’s internal sensors to alert you if the tire pressure is low.
All of the fluids in your vehicle will need to be maintained or changed out even if you don’t use them. There is a shelf-life on these liquids, after which point they won’t work effectively. Consider checking all of these fluids before you get behind the wheel:
- Motor oil
- Brake fluid
- Engine coolant
- Power steering fluid
- Transmission fluid
- Windshield wiper fluid
Taking the vehicle for an occasional short drive can help many of these fluids circulate and perform better when you take it for a longer drive.
Charge the Battery
When your vehicle isn’t running, it can’t charge the battery. Further, batteries slowly lose charge even when not in use. You can run the vehicle for a bit to ensure that the vehicle is charging it. However, be careful, starting the vehicle is hardest on the battery and you need to run it for long enough to make up for this.
Instead of running the vehicle, you could instead attach the battery to a trickle charger or battery tender. As long as they have an automatic shut-off feature, they will protect the battery’s charge. Just be sure to detach it before you get in the vehicle.
Look for Pests
Unfortunately, pests like rodents and birds sometimes take shelter inside infrequently used cars. Check before you drive!
Do you keep your European vehicle in storage, or drive it only occasionally? Reach out to us today for help getting it back into shape.