How Long Can I Let My Car Sit Parked?

With our country thrown into chaos, many drivers are not thinking about the general health of their vehicle. As a result, many cars and trucks are sitting quietly in their parking spots, driveways, and garages for extended periods. While it is a common thought that a rarely driven car holds its value longer, it actually should be driven from time to time. Allowing your vehicle to sit for a week or more can cause costly damage.

Casey’s Automotive Repair & Maintenance Team in Sterling, VA, knows how important it is to save money, especially these days, and we are always thinking of new ways to help you do just that. As the best automotive repair shop in Sterling, VA, we took some time out of our automotive repair and maintenance day to give you some tips.

Take it out for a 10-15 minute drive, at speeds of at least 20. If your vehicle sits for too long, it becomes subject to several possible issues. See the list below for more details.

Batteries Lose Charge

Batteries are the primary source of electricity within a vehicle, but it also needs the alternator to charge it. When a vehicle has been sitting for too long, an alternator doesn’t recharge the battery. With long periods of inactivity and no charge from an alternator, old and new batteries often die.

There is also a connection between the battery and an engine computer. Nowadays, most modern vehicles are using the batteries even when it is not running.

Fluids Go Bad, and Moisture Builds Up

The different fluids in your vehicle’s system need to be moving. When they sit for too long, they are at risk of going bad and can cause damage. They need to run through the proper components and compartments within the engine.

Moisture regularly builds up in many areas of a vehicle. Once the engine gets running, is being driven, and warms up, the humidity burns off. When the moisture doesn’t get burned away, it builds up, mixes with other chemicals, and can cause corrosion in metal and rubber materials.

Tires Develop Flat Spots

The rubber in tires has a sort of memory from being driven regularly. Still, that memory is affected when it experiences big swings in ambient temperature. Even apart from seasonal changes, Northern Virginia is notorious for strange temperature swings outside of the season.

While driven regularly, the rubber heats up, then it cools and settles while parked. When the tires sit in the same position without having been moved for weeks at a time, you might find flat spots where it lay. Depending on the quality of the tires, and the duration of its parked position, those flat spots can be temporary. However, if left for too long without movement, the flat spots become susceptible to corrosion. Not exactly one of the things you want to have to about at your next Virginia State Inspection.

Oil Issues

When it comes to the health of your car or truck, oil is essential. When the oil hasn’t pushed through its usual compartments, it causes some big-time issues. Many vital elements require the lubrication oil offers to their parts. Without a running motor, those components dry out.

But, when that oil displaces from where it supposed to be, such as leaks, it can both be annoying and cause damage. For a vehicle that has been sitting for too long, the oil seals start to dry out. When those seals dry out, it distorts the seal and leaks.

In other words, running your car or truck will help the oil reach the parts it is supposed to touch.

Casey’s Automotive Repair and Maintenance in Sterling, Virginia

The bottom line here is, don’t let your car stay parked for any longer than one week at a time. The Stay at Home Order isn’t the best time to go shopping, but it is an excellent time to take a leisurely drive. We suggest you aim for a fifteen minutes’ drive once a week to keep all of your vehicle’s components healthy.

We take great pride in providing quality service for customers; oil change, tire rotation, fluid flushes, battery replacement, air filters, wheel alignments, or A/C maintenance. Casey’s Automotive has got you covered.

Casey’s Team understands how these days may not be the optimal time for our customers to have to worry about bringing their vehicles in for service, which is why we have launched our Concierge Service! Our Team will pick-up your vehicle from your home or place of work, service, and sanitize it, then return it to you at NO additional cost.

The best referral you can get is from a neighbor.