If you have to travel, you usually take care of who will take care of your house, the dog and the services, but what about your car? If you're going on a vacation by plane, or have another event, you probably won't be using your car for a while. If your car is not going to be used for a long time, maybe a few weeks or maybe more, you have to take some measures so that this time in disuse does not damage it. Otherwise, you might have more than one problem when you want to use it again.
Step 1. Change the oil and filterIf the car is going to be stored for a long time, maybe years, talk to your mechanic about using oil without additives that over time could become corrosive.
Step 2. Fill the tank with the best quality gasoline Condensation is a major problem in automobiles and it is a very good idea to add the best quality gasoline that does not contain alcohol to prevent water from accumulating in the tank
Gasoline itself can become viscous over time so it is also good to add a stabilizer that is usually used in other devices that are used from season to season such as the lawnmower. Ask if the gasoline you are buying contains ethanol as this is a corrosive agent.
Step 3. Make sure the antifreeze levels are normalThis is to prevent a possible drop in temperature.
Step 4. Inflate the tires to the proper pressure
If you're storing your car for the winter, check your manual for the proper pressure. Inflating your tires above the norm can help prevent the tires from going down and wrecking. After they have been put away, the tires tend to behave differently for about 15 kilometers or so.
Step 5. Wash and wax your carRemove dirt from under the car, especially the spaces around the wheels. Clean the interior very carefully with special emphasis on removing any kind of organic matter you can find so that they do not attract insects or mice. Remove the rugs and be careful not to use any cleaning agent that contains water.
Step 6. Consider placing a plastic sheet to serve as a vapor barrier
This will prevent steam from being created in garages that are not heated. Also, this will easily show you if there is any kind of leak.
Step 7. Open a window slightly if the car will be indoors, but not big enough for any insects to get in and put the top down if it is a convertible
Cover the air inlet with a piece of cloth to prevent insects or other animals from making their nests there. You can put a source of smell such as mothballs or some kind of soap with a strong aroma to keep insects at bay. These can leave your scent for longer than you want though.
Step 8. Use a battery maintainer if you are leaving the car in storage for more than a month
These are basically smart battery chargers that charge the battery just a little bit and from time to time for short periods of time. You can still have it on if it is connected to the car, but it is recommended that you remove the battery and connect it to the smart recharger. If your car is of the latest generation, check with the manual to see if you are not going to mess up the on-board computers by removing the power supply.
Step 9. Place plastic wrap over between the windshield wipers and the glassThis is to prevent the rubber from sticking to the windshield. A better solution is to remove the windshield wipers, especially if you are going to have the car outdoors so that the rubber does not dry out. You can also leave them and wrap them with a plastic bag.
Step 10. If you have basic mechanical knowledge, remove the spark plugs and pour a little oil into the cylinders to prevent rust and then install the spark plugs
There are special products to carry out this process that will work quite well. There are also gasoline additives that will do a similar job on the inside.
Step 11. If the car is going to be stored for long periods of time, it is good to use car holders to avoid having problems with the tires
A lot of time in this case has to do with the kind of tire you use. High-end radials will overwinter without a hitch, but low-end diagonals won't fare well if you leave them in the same position for more than a month.
Step 12. Disengage the parking brake If you leave the parking brake on, the pads may stick to the rotor
Put stops on the sides of the tires to prevent any movement.
Step 13. Post a note explaining all the preventive changes you made to keep the car in good condition
When you use your car again, make sure all steps are reversed. Use the list to keep track of them so that you don't have anything loose.
Step 14. Lock the doors to prevent someone from taking something from your car
Step 15. Use a car cover only if you are storing the car outdoors or in dusty environments
The uncovered car will be able to get rid of moisture more efficiently than the covered car, especially if you live in a place with high humidity.
- If you have no choice but to use a cover, get one that allows water vapor to escape. There are materials prepared for this, especially high-end ones. The lower end ones will commonly be made of plastic and will actually be a receptacle for water vapor causing your car to rust.
- It is quite common for car stumps to rust if stored for too long. This is mostly cosmetic and will not affect performance. You can remove the rust by making 15 stops from 60 to 70km per hour allowing time for the brakes to cool.
- If the car has been in storage for more than three months, change the oil and filter before starting it again.
- Before removing the spark plugs, be sure to use compressed air to remove any kind of item that could get into the spark plug holes and thus enter the combustion chamber.
- When you put the protective oil on the spark plugs, be sure to only cover the parts it was designed for.
- If you have the possibility to check the car from time to time, move the brake, clutch and accelerator pedals so that the hydraulic components do not suffer from lack of use.
- The battery will discharge slowly over time and you shouldn't let more than 6 months go by without charging it again.
- Lead acid batteries should not be kept indoors as under certain conditions they can release toxic gases.
- Make sure to use stabilizer in gasoline. If you don't, you will have problems with the engine and also the car will stall due to the damage. This can be avoided by adding only a little gasoline with stabilizer and then adding more gasoline and mixing it with the old one. This option can be used if you consider that the risk of condensation inside the tank is low.
- Keep in mind that rodents and other pests will like to make your car their new home. Consider setting traps and reviewing them from time to time. Chicotillos and other rubber elements as well as hoses are the common victims of mice. The bottom of your seats as well as the ventilation system are excellent for all kinds of insects.
- Keep in mind that if you leave the wiper arms stationary, you risk them returning to their previous position. If the weather is very cold, these could easily break the windshield. It is always more advisable to use a piece of cloth, or some other material to wrap them.