How to Take Care of Your Idle Car

You might not be driving much right now, and your car could be the last thing on your mind. Although, how you take care of your car while it’s idle will influence its overall performance. To maintain your car as it sits, you’ll still want to tend to your car’s battery, engine, and exterior. Here are a few tips to help take care of your car while it sits.

Keep up with regular maintenance

Many of us consider regular maintenance in terms of mileage, and not in timing. When your car sits idly for long periods of time, the oil and preservatives will still age even though it’s not accruing many miles. When in doubt, consult your car owner’s manual for suggestions on timing to perform regular maintenance tasks.

Turn it on once in a while 

Photo by Malte Luk

Even if you don’t have anywhere to go, you should start your car every couple of days to disperse the fluids and keep things fresh and lubricated. This step is also particularly good for preserving your car’s battery. When you can, take your car for a short ride at least once a week or so. 

Replenish your fuel

According to advice by Consumer Reports, gas can go bad within three months. Old fuel can cause your engine to slow, or worse, cause your car not to start at all. You can avoid problems like these by taking an occasional ride and by replenishing the gas in your tank regularly. You can also add a fuel stabilizer for additional protection. Fuel stabilizer is a solution that prevents the gas from evaporating as well as from developing sticky residue that could potentially ruin your car’s carburetor. You can use a fuel stabilizer like the popular Berryman Total Fuel Stabilizer. Whichever fuel stabilizer you choose, make sure you follow the label’s instructions very carefully.

Keep things clean

If your car is sitting for a while, you’ll definitely want to make sure that you have removed all food items and other junk to avoid intrusions from bugs and other critters. It’s important to clean and disinfect all high-touch surfaces like the handles, gear shift, steering wheel, and seatbelts as well as the dashboard which can attract a lot of dust.  You can use designated car cleaners like the Carfidant Ultimate Interior Cleaner or household products like Lysol. Some even recommend using makeup removers to clean leather surfaces. For finishing touches, vacuum the carpet area and add an air freshener to ensure freshness. 

Don’t forget the exterior 

You’ll also want to give your car’s exterior a little TLC. The Chemical Guys citrus car wash soap is a good option and so is Meguiar’s wash and wax cleaner. Whatever you do, avoid using dish soap to clean your car because it can strip its wax coating and further advertise dings and scratches. Every three months or so, you can finish off your hard work with car wax for added protection. This will help your car look clean for longer, and a little wax goes a long way.