April 13

Your car can suffer in lockdown too


​Things to consider when your vehicle sits for extended periods of time.

Always store a vehicle with a fully charged battery

  • ​A battery is at its best after a one-hour drive with the least number of accessories being used.
  • ​​Always ensure the battery terminals are clean and tight. A dirty connection greatly reduces the efficiency of the battery and its life.

Unplug all USB and cigarette lighter cables and charges

  • ​​These devices are always on when plugged in​, have a small electrical drain and over several weeks can cause a dead car battery.
  • ​​​Most if not all vehicles newer than 2010 can lose the memory in ​on-board computers when a car battery become dead. Once boosted and running, some can run rough or even stall until servicing is done and, often, power windows need to be reprogrammed.

Best to store your vehicle indoors i​f possible

  • ​​Vehicles sitting on the street are subject to debris from trees packing up in water drain vents for sunroof convertibles and drain cowling at the bottom of the windshield.
  • ​​​A car cover really helps to protect from the sun.

​​Keep the fuel tank full

  • ​​​This really only applies to older vehicles (1990 and older) that do not have Emission Ventilation Systems (EVAP) .
  • ​​​​Newer vehicles have sealed fuel systems and very effectively vent moisture from them.

​​​Continue to change your engine oil at least every 6 months even if less than the usual mileage interval

  • ​​​Engine oil is to be changed according to time or mileage. Read your vehicle​ manual.
  • ​​​​Vehicles newer than 2000 have sealed systems for 'engine blow by' and trap moisture inside the engine. In frequent and short trips ​moisture builds up in the engine oil. The only way for moisture in the engine to get out is to drive ​the vehicle for over an hour, regularly.

​​​Check your tire pressures before use

  • ​​​​When vehicles sit, tires can begin to leak from not being worked.
  • ​​​​​It is good to move the vehicle a couple of feet to prevent the tire from forming a flat spot.
  • ​Remember that ​if you use stud​ded winter tires,  they must ​be off the vehicle by April 30th​.

​​​​Fully service your vehicle before parking it for extended lengths of time

  • ​​​​Postponed services to brake systems and emission systems will get worse just from sitting, better to have everything functioning properly when the vehicle is parked.

​​​​Drive the vehicle to fully operational temperature and on the highway, if close by

  • ​​​​​All vehicles systems - old and new - keep working best when ​used regularly.
  • ​​​​​​Newer vehicles need a full hour of driving for all the systems to run ​properly and to complete ​​the processes the computers do to monitor all systems and release trapped moisture.

​​​​​Jump starting new vehicles

  • ​​​​​Always check the owner’s manual before doing so, especially newer and electric vehicles.
  • ​If you are not mechanically inclined, get help.

​​​​​With the extra time on your hands, read your owner’s manual

  • ​​​​​​Vehicles made since 2010 are very complex, in a similar way to cell phones. Take ​some time to learn everything you can about the features of your vehicle. You may be surprised ​at things it can do that you did not know about.
  • ​​​​​​​Speak with the professionals you trust for all additional questions you have with your vehicles condition and care.

​Is there anything else you'd like to know about when it comes to storing your vehicle?
Ask here or leave a comment below.

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About the author 

Ronald Tremblay

Ronald Tremblay is the owner of The Garage, a fourth-generation family business, specializing in vehicle maintenance and repair. Clients enjoy a high-level of service informed by lifestyle and vehicle usage and they are fully informed about the status of their vehicles. As such, clients can make empowered decisions, control their budget and save money as the life of their vehicle is extended long past the manufacturer's warranty expectations.

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