While most people hop in their cars once a day or more often, some people rarely drive their vehicles, especially when inclement weather hits (including snow and rain). If you don’t drive your car frequently, you might feel slightly disconnected from the mechanics of it. Most people have the mindset that if they don’t see/use it, they don’t think about it. However, even if you don’t drive often, it’s recommended to drive the vehicle once every two or three weeks to ensure that nothing goes wrong.
Issues can happen if you let your vehicle sit too long. For example, the battery could go dead because it’s not being used and recharging itself. You can also get flat spots on the tire rubber and many other issues can crop up as well.
Is It Necessary?
You have probably heard of people letting their cars sit in the garage for months on end without experiencing problems, and you might have the same situation. However, why take the risk? Isn’t it much easier to just drive it a couple of times a month for at least 10 miles one way? Most mechanics recommend that you drive 10 miles one way before shutting off the engine and get up to a speed over 50 for as long as possible when possible. That way, the engine is fully warmed up, and the whole car gets some exercise.
Of course, you could turn on the engine and let the vehicle idle in the parking lot for 10 minutes, which can get your engine up to its optimal operating temperature. However, that doesn’t accomplish much more. If you drive the car for many miles, the brakes, transmission, power steering, suspension, and climate system all get a workout. Plus, the fluids, gaskets, and seals also get used, among other components.
Along with such, the battery slowly loses its charge when it sits without being used. When you start the car, the battery is drained even more. Just letting it idle doesn’t recharge it; the car needs to be driven several miles after it is started so that the battery gets a chance to recharge itself. In some cases, a parked car that sits for more than a month requires a jump-start because the battery has lost so much power it can’t start on its own.
It’s best to make sure that your vehicle always starts right up by driving it sometimes. You can also purchase a battery tender. These work slightly differently than traditional chargers. They fully charge the battery and keep it maintained at the right storage voltage without any damaging effects, such as those that could be caused by a trickle charger. Once the battery is fully charged, the machine automatically switches to its float charging mode. Because car batteries don’t cycle as deeply as the rechargeable batteries found in electronics, the battery tender keeps the battery topped off, improving longevity.
Other Reasons You Shouldn’t Let the Car Sit for More than Two Weeks
While all the previously mentioned issues are serious, they aren’t the only ones. Tires can start losing air in any condition if they aren’t used frequently. However, they tend to lose more air during the cold weather. When they do, the vehicle’s weight keeps pressure on the tires, causing a flat spot to develop where the tires sit on the pavement or gravel.
Rodents and pests might also choose to make your car their home in the exhaust outlets or under the hood. They might also chew on the wiring, which can cause significant issues when you do choose to drive your vehicle.