Cars are complicated machines to run even at the best of times, but when it comes to a standing car, a car not being used, that’s a different story. Cars are massively complex pieces of engineering, and because of that and all of the moving parts that come with them, not using them and overusing them are both bad for the car. If you do need to stop using your car for a while though, no matter what the reason, you need to know how to keep it in good shape.
There’s a lot that goes into car maintenance, even for standing cars too. It all has a huge impact on the car’s overall health, and that’s the most important thing you need to remember. It’s actually never good to leave a standing car for too long, but when it does have to happen, there are some things that you can do to help out.
Firstly, before we do anything, it’s a good idea to clean the car. Whether you clean inside (that’s up to you) as well as outside or just the outer layer, make sure you get the paint clean. It’s the best way to make sure that nothing makes any permanent damage or worse, decreases the value of the car.
This is actually vital because of what dirt does to cars. If left for a long time, whether it’s dust or bird poop, it has a big impact on the paint work’s life span. As things stick, rot and corrode on your car, it gets harder and harder to take them off. The best thing you can do it clean the lot.
On the same kind of lines covering your car is another great option for keeping a standing car in great shape. It means that not only is all of the dust and dirt is going to have to keep away, but it does even more too. Namely, it keeps your car away from harsh weather that might be out there, and that alone has its benefits.
Covering your car is a great way to look after any car that you’re not using, but the best thing you can possibly do for a standing car other than using it is to keep it in a garage. This does everything else you need as well as keep it close by too. That means it’s much safer and all of the effects of a car cover are amplified on top of that.
Charge the Battery
Car battery maintenance is a tough nut to crack, but it’s vital to good car health. One of the most common issues that come from a standing car (or most people assume) is with the battery. Batteries in cars are always tricky to look after. They have a shorter life span than most parts of the car and leaving them is a great way to let them run flat if there are any underlying issues.
If you’re leaving your car standing and unused, a great way to look after the battery especially is to run it when you can. Running an engine allows the alternator to run and charges the battery for you. 20-30 minutes is best, or even using an external charger or trickle charger every once in a while, is a smart idea.
Use it when you can
Although we’re talking about leaving a car standing and looking after a car you’re not using, it would still be irresponsible of us not to say this. Using your car is one of the best ways to look after it. Cars are meant to be driven. No matter how much you can get out of it, try your best to get it done.
Running a car as it is intended is a great way to make sure that everything is staying above board. That charges your batteries, uses your engine to meet its needs, stops your brakes from seizing, the works. Whether you nip to the shops or go for a Sunday drive, it’s all good for the car’s inner workings.
Lastly, although this one isn’t good or bad for the car, it’s still good to practise for when you leave a standing car. That’s to get it sorned and stop paying road tax on a car you’re not using. There’s no point in paying for something that you’re not doing after all, and this is a great way to get the money back for it.
With that being said, however, it’s also important to remember that you can’t use the road at all if you do that. That includes going for short trips, and even parking or having your car on the road in any way. It’s massively illegal, and you will be fined or clamped for it as a result. It’s not worth it unless you’re truly off the road.
Getting it back on the road
Just before we leave you to take care of your precious vehicle, we also have a few quick tips when it’s time to finally get back on the road too. Whether you’re out of the vehicle for a few weeks or a few months, remember the essentials:
- Make sure that your MOT is valid, and your car is legal
- Make sure your car is taxed when you drive it
- Make sure you are insured
- Get a service if need be (and check your warranty conditions)
All of these things are essential to daring in the UK, so don’t forget them when you want to drive again.
Ultimately, it all comes down to making sure the parts are kept out of the weather and away from corrosion. Using your car is always best, but make sure you protect it however you can, even if it’s once a month to give it a clean, a run and a charge. If it will be too long, you can always sell and buy another later too. Whatever you do, make sure you do it correctly.