As quarantine continues, you may find your vehicles being driven far less frequent than usual. Unfortunately, leaving cars parked for long periods of time can have unforeseen consequences that can impact both the reliability and potentially safety of the vehicles. On the other hand, with so much uncertainty right now, you may not want to take your car off the road for such a long period. Read on for some common trouble spots from SCE Auto to watch out for and a few simple solutions for keeping your car moving.
Common Things To Look For
Just Drive It
There’s a simple solution to almost all of the troubles facing your car as it languishes in its parking spot: driving it. We recommend driving your car for at least 20 minutes once every two weeks (if conditions allow). That’s enough time to warm up your tires and protect from flat spots, return some charge to your battery, wear surface rust off your brake disks, and keep the fluids in your car moving and everything properly lubricated. It’s a simple solution, but it works. Cars are designed to be driven, so it’s easier to keep them healthy by putting them to regular use.
The biggest concern with tires is flat-spotting, which is when the weight of the vehicle sitting on one spot flattens out a portion of the rubber on the tire. While flat-spotting isn’t likely to happen in two weeks, if conditions are right, a month of being stationary might be enough to cause problems. Low tire pressure and very cold weather can both contribute to the development of flat spots. We recommend starting by checking your tire pressure and inflating them to factory specification, or come by the shop. We’re happy help – call SCE Auto (843) 804-8311.
When left unused, brake rotors can begin to develop rust on the surface of the rotors. If you leave your parking brake engaged for a long period of time, it can actually cause the brake pads to bind to the rotors. While this shouldn’t be a concern over a few weeks, if you know your car will be parked for a month or more we recommend leaving the parking brake off. Obviously, you should always put safety first and only do so on a flat surface.
Over time, your car’s battery can discharge and leave you needing to jump-start your car. You can plug your vehicle into a battery tender if you have one. Or if you know your car will be sitting for a long time, you can always safely disconnect the battery.
Pests & Debris
Especially in our damp Lowcountry, ants and other crawly bugs can cause real trouble for vehicles if left outside. Fallen leafs and other debris can make a great home for insects too. Take reasonable steps to protect your parking area from common pests, and if your car has been parked for more than a few weeks, we recommend popping the hood and trunk to clear away any collected debris, leafs, etc.