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Do I Need to Maintain An Idle Vehicle?

With stay-at-home orders in place, you may be wondering about your vehicle sitting idle. Or perhaps, you own a vehicle that you don't have much use for that has been collecting dust in the garage. Whichever is the case, you may wonder whether or not a vehicle that is sitting idle and isn't being used needs to still be maintained. 

It may seem that a vehicle that isn't used doesn't need to be maintained - however, this isn't always the case. An idle vehicle should still be prepared and taken care of in certain aspects. We want to share with you our idle car maintenance tips for cars that aren't being used for weeks, months, or even years. 

It is important to prepare your vehicle for storage, which you can do in a few ways. It is recommended to wash your vehicle, making sure to remove any grime or dirt. Waxing is also a good idea. This just helps to protect the integrity of your vehicle's exterior and prevents rusting. 

It also helps to put in a full tank of gas. We know it seems silly to fill up the tank of an idle vehicle, but actually it prevents moisture from building up inside the fuel tank. Moisture inside the tank can cause fuel lines to corrode, so a full tank of gas can go a long way in protecting your vehicle's fuel system. 

If you had a car sitting idle for a while and are taking it out for its first drive, be sure to inflate the tires before driving. Tires can loose air pressure while sitting unused, especially if the temperature is changing. 

Getting your vehicle's fluids after sitting idle is a good idea. Fluids can get dirty or contaminated with moisture if your vehicle isn't running for an extended period of time. Check fluid levels and the color of your fluids before driving, and be sure to bring your vehicle into Small World Auto Center if you find that any of your vehicle's fluids need to be exchanged, such as the motor oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and transmission fluid. 

If your car will be sitting idle for months, look into getting a car cover. This helps to prevent moisture from getting inside and also protects the exterior from dirt/scratches. 

When it is finally time to take your vehicle out on the road again, be sure to inspect the following: 

  • Check tires for proper air pressure
  • Inspect for rodent damage such as chewed wiring, hoses, and belts
  • Inspect the windshield wipers to see if they are dry, frayed, or cracked - if so, replace them
  • Check all fluids
  • Test your battery - an idle battery can lose its charge, so you may need to replace the battery or run your vehicle for a little while to get charged up

If you find that your vehicle needs a maintenance item after sitting idle for too long, know that the experts here at Small World Auto Center are here to help. We are available to assist with all of your vehicle's Eugene auto repair needs. Give us a call or stop by today! 

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