How Often Should You Drive Your Stored Car?

Storing your car for the winter is a great way to preserve its longevity, but it also comes with some precautions. If you leave your car sitting all season without ever driving it, you could come back to a car that’s been destroyed by rats or insects come springtime. In that case, here is how often you should drive your car if it’s sitting in storage for the winter.

How long can you go without driving your car?

A driver's view while driving down the road.
A driver’s view while driving down the road. | Stefan Irvine/LightRocket via Getty Images

If your car is sitting in storage for the season, try to drive every two to three weeks. According to Cars.com, driving it at least once a month or more will prevent the tires from getting flat spots and the battery from dying, in addition to other potential issues that can occur while it’s parked.

How long should you drive the car?

Jay Leno's car storage facility
A view of Jay Leno’s car storage garage. | Getty Images

When driving your stored car around, you should drive for 10 miles and for speeds up to at least 50 mph. It’s a good idea to drive around in the city and do a little highway driving to get everything running up to the proper temperatures. Although you could technically let the car sit idle for 10 minutes, it’s a better idea actually to drive it.

Driving the car for an extended period of time will essentially “wake up” the transmission, brakes, suspension, and power steering components and get all of the fluids circulating properly.

Think of it like when you wake up in the morning; you can either wake up by sitting in front of a computer or get your body moving and stretching to wake up in a healthier manner. Your car isn’t that much different.

Reasons to not let your car sit in storage for too long

Related

5 of the Best Garage Alternatives For Storing Your Car

In a nutshell, here are the main reasons not to let your car sit in storage for too long:

  • Tires will deflate: your car’s tires will lose air over time. As they do, the car’s weight will push down on them and cause flat spots in segments of the tire. Driving the car around periodically and adding air to the tires, if necessary, can prevent permanent flat spots from occurring.
  • Rodent infestation: If your car sits for a while, it’s possible that rodents or insects can take up residence inside of it. Those little critters like to camp out in the crevices and possibly even chew on the wiring harnesses because they’re made of soy. Driving the car every once in a while can prevent this from happening.
  • Moisture in the gas tank: If your car’s gas tank is not full, then moisture can eventually build up in the gas tank, which can lead to corrosion.
  • Dead battery: Your car’s battery will end up dying over time, so driving it can help keep it charged.

Whether you’re planning to store your car for the winter season or a longer period of time, it’s a good idea to drive it around every couple of weeks if possible. If not, then once a month should be the minimum interval. Just remember not to let it sit idle for too long, or you could return to a rodent-infested, dead car in the springtime.