How long can a car sit without being driven?

By Julia Freeman

As the COVID-19 lockdown continues, most of us are spending more time at home and getting to enjoy the simpler things – giving the house a proper deep clean, learning new skills and trying to meet up on video calls. Your car may be the last thing on your mind right now – but there are some maintenance issues that can arise from a car being sat idle for too long.

When a car sits for more than a couple of weeks, key functions start to break down. To keep your car tyres in tip-top condition and your engine working perfectly, these are the most common problems that can come from leaving a car sitting too long.

Battery loses charge

Without a charge from your car’s alternator, even the newest of batteries will begin to lose their charge. This will interfere with your ability to start your car as well as possibly causing your central locking and alarms to stop working. Lockdown shouldn’t mean letting your car

Tyres develop flat spots

Leaving your tyres alone and forgetting to check them will spell big trouble. Forgetting to inflate them properly and leaving them unmoved in the same spot will result in your car tyres developing flat spots where they touch your driveway.

Fuel tanks accumulate moisture

A fuel tank filled just partway or resting near empty will develop moisture inside, especially during hot weather. This moisture will go into the fuel and collect, potentially compromising performance and causing running issues.

Preventing the problem

As these problems can cause significant damage to your vehicle or make it unsafe to drive, it’s best to keep your car active. Start it up and go for a short drive (within restrictions) about every two weeks to stop any problems from developing. Driving a reasonable number of miles will charge the battery and keep everything working. Don’t just take a spin around the neighbourhood at ten mph. Go out to a road with a speed limit of around fifty to sixty miles mph and give your vehicle a good workout. Wake up the transmission and let oil circulate to lubricate all the moving parts that might otherwise become dry.
You may also want to take a few preventative measures to protect your vehicle. Make sure that the fuel tank is full and that the tyres are inflated to the recommended levels. A car cover will keep the temperature regulated during the summer months and you may want to unhook the negative battery cable. This will stop the battery from dying prematurely although do check the owner's manual before doing this.

Book with Protyre

If you want advice on keeping your car in good condition, then our qualified fitters at Protyre are here to help. Our tyre professionals have years of experience and are there to advise at any of our one hundred and fifty local garages. We stock tyres from leading brands such as Bridgestone and Pirelli at great prices. Just check here on the site to see our range of same-day services or contact us today to find out more about how we can help.

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About the author

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By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Retail Marketing for Protyre and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to make sure Protyre is more than just a local garage.
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