Having a car is convenient. Your car allows you to have the freedom to move about freely without the worry of long and winding matatu queues. It, therefore, shouldn’t be a surprise to realise how much trouble your car can exhibit when left for long periods of time without use. There are a lot of reasons why you would fail to use your car such as moving jobs, absence of good roads, leaving the country and for most people right now, the COVID-19 pandemic that has almost crippled all transport activities.
However, neglecting your car completely is not advisable. It is advisable that you prepare and secure your car as doing so will save you a lot of stress when you resume using it. In most cases, you may have to replace your car battery and the engine which is costly.
Here are tips on how to keep your car in great condition while not in use.
a.) Leave your car with someone
Usually, when people are going to be away from their cars for prolonged periods, their first instinct is to leave the car with a friend or family member. These are the people that can look after it and maybe even start it to warm up the engine. This is a good step if the person is not careless or too busy to remember to look at it from time to time and start the engine to warm it up a bit.
However, in most cases, this can still present some problems if they park your car on the streets where it’s not safe and you can come back to only the shell of the car placed on the stones. The car also stands the risk of getting towed.
b.) Leave your car in a storage facility
You can store your car at a vehicle storage facility. This can be a safe outdoor parking facility, underground parking facility or just an indoor warehouse-like parking facility. Some supermarkets, fuel stations and airports offer such facilities. These facilities will provide your car with a safe space for prolonged periods with constant surveillance. You will have to part with a small fee for parking and security depending on how long you intend to be away or based on the uncertainty of the situation you find yourself, these are great ways to try and keep your car safe.
What to do before you store your car
Just as sitting for long is not recommended, parking your car for long with no engine activity is also not recommended. The battery will be discharged, the car can develop rust and moisture is bound to ruin the moving parts. However, there are a few things you can do before you store your car until you come back.
1. Disconnect the battery
Unplug the negative charge of your battery as the electronic parts of the car can still drain the battery over time even though the car is not in motion. This will also save you from buying a new battery when you get back. To prevent the negative terminal from touching anything else, wrap it in a thick cloth.
2.Top up your fluids
Before you store your car, take it for servicing and have all the fluids topped up. This will prevent external moisture from getting into the spaces that are not filled and ruining your car eventually. Changing your engine fluids will also lower the chances of impurities leaking into your engine and damaging it.
3. Fill the fuel tank and get a fuel stabilizer
Ensure you leave your car with a full fuel tank as this will prevent external moisture from damaging your car. If you won’t use your car or will be gone for an undefined period, add a fuel stabilizer.
4. Jack the car
Car tyres are incredibly expensive. You wouldn’t want to buy a new set of tyres when you resume using your car. To avoid developing flat spots on the tyres, put the car on a jack. Having your car lifted helps maintain their shape in long term storage.
5. Cover the car
If you are leaving the car outside, cover the vehicle’s exterior with a car cover. This will protect it from sunlight, dirt and other particulate matter that is bound to damage your paintwork and leave stains.
We are in a period of uncertainty. You can not predict how long you may need to store your car in a facility or somewhere safe. If you won’t be using your car for a long time, store it properly and follow the preliminary steps before you store the car. Treat your car well and it will serve you for long.