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9 Tips While Leaving Your Car Behind For A Vacation

Considering Any Of The Aforementioned Scenarios, If You Are Not Parking Your Car Properly For Long Periods Of Time Could Cost You, Leaving Your Car
Travel Elizabeth Mathew 3 April 2018

Many a time all of us have had to leave our cars unused for long periods. The reasons may vary from an extended vacation, study or work abroad or even a transfer. Considering any of the aforementioned scenarios, if you are not parking your car properly for long periods of time could cost you, dear.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid having to service the car as you return just to get it running normally. Let alone the damage caused by not using your car for days together. Follow the tips below and you won’t have to shell out a bomb when you return to use it.

Park Indoors:

The best place to store your car while you are away would be your garage. Finding a covered parking, that would keep your car safer and cleaner. A safer and cleaner car storage is challenging if you live in urban areas. In such cases find a storage facility that can help storing your car. If you have to leave the car outdoors use a weatherproof cover. This will help keep the car dry and clean.

Clean Up:

People leave trash in cars, get ready for surprises you will never know what you will find when you clean your car, get rid of it. The crumbs spilled from the food attract insects and rodents. Imagine the smell of stale food, so clean the interiors and vacuum the mats and seats. Spray a bit of freshness, just a bit or even freshener left for long in the confines will stink too.

Car Wash:

It may sound funny to get your car washed when you have about put it away for weeks or months, but is an important step and shouldn’t be overlooked. Take your car to the car wash and get it cleaned thoroughly for any sand, dirt, tarmac or bird poop left long enough can spoil the car’s paint. A wax coat will give the paint added protection and help from dust or dirt sticking to the paint. Pull up the wiper blades and wrap them in plastic to avoid the rubber from hardening.

Top Up:

Check fluid levels and top up the coolant, engine oil, and fuel tanks. Used engine oil has contaminants that could damage the engine. Top up the Coolant as it’s rust inhibiting properties will help keep the components from corroding. Topping up gas will prevent moisture from accumulating in the tank and keep the seals from drying out. Adding a fuel stabilizer will help prevent fuel deterioration.

Charge and Disconnect:

Any battery left unattended will eventually get discharged and corroded over time. To avoid such discharges, disconnect the negative cable from the battery. If you want to keep those settings and the car battery to start the moment you return consider buying a trickle charger.

Don’t Use Parking Brake:

Normally it would be a bad advice to not use the parking brakes. However, given that the brake pads and rotors might fuse over prolonged contact duration. It is better to use the ‘P’ in automatic cars and leave it in First or reverse gear in manual transmission cars. You could purchase a chock, which is a wedge-shaped tyre stopper to prevent the car from moving.

Flat Spots:

Inflate the tyres to the maximum recommended pressure as the air escape slowly, that is why checking tyre pressure every fortnight is recommended. Flat spots develop when a car is parked for longer periods and the weight of the car presses the tyres down. This scenario occurs rapidly in colder temperatures and on vehicles equipped with performance or low profile tryes.

To avoid this you can jack up the car and place it on jack stands on all four sides, so the pressure is on the stands and not on the tyres. If the car is going to be idle for over a month there is a chance of the tyres developing flat spots. This depending on the duration flat spots will disappear with a bit of driving around or in extreme cases may call for tyre replacement.

Rodent Control:

As the saying goes, ‘While the cat’s away the mice will play.’ the garage will sure keep your car warm and dry. The exact two things a rodent is looking for as well. A warm garage and a parked car are like an amusement park for rodents. With plenty of places to hide a mouthful to chew on no doubt, they are rat magnets. Cover any gaps such as exhaust pipe or intake with steel wool and spread mothballs and swabs dipped in peppermint oil around the car. It is believed that the mice have an aversion to the smell.

When You are Back:

All the work you have put in to store your car has paid off. If you haven’t followed the tips and haven’t been around for a long-long time you better call a mechanic before you even try to turn the key. If you did follow the tips just undo whatever you did and perform these checks.

  • Check under the engine bay for evidence of rodent activity. Look for chewed belts, hoses, wires etc.
  • Remove the steel wool from the intake and exhaust before you start.
  • Check the tyre pressure inflate or deflate to manufacturer recommendations.
  • Check fluids for leaks and if they are at the recommended levels.
  • Reconnect the battery cable, if disconnected.
  • Wash the car and you are good to hit the road..
Elizabeth Mathew

Elizabeth Mathew

Elizabeth Mathew is an entrepreneur, digital journalist and a photographer. A life-long generalist, she writes for various blogs covering digital entertainment, social media and tech.