Performing maintenance is a task that often goes hand-in-hand with owning a vehicle. But what about vehicles you only use once in a while or large part of the year? It might not be used frequently would not require upkeep like your everyday vehicle – but that is not always the case. If you are a vehicle for a month or more, you may want to follow these car maintenance tips:
Prepare for Storage
a spare car you only drive every so often, there are some steps you should take before leaving it for an extended period of time. According to Cars.com, start cleaning your vehicle from top to bottom, including washing (you can get hard-to-remove dirt and debris, like sap), polishing and waxing the outside. Consider spraying any unpainted metal with undercoating to help protect against rust, says Cars.com
Get a full tank of gas
When your vehicle is sparkling again, it's important to fill your gas tank if you will be storing the car longer than 30 days, says Edmunds, as this may help prevent moisture from building up in the tank. Cars.com also recommends adding a fuel stabilizer to the tank when it's almost full, as the shelf life of standard fuels is only about three months. Inflate the Tires
Inflate the Tires
If your car will be sitting for a long period of Time, the temperature can change and the tires can slowly lose pressure, says Cars.com. For this reason, it's a good idea to inflate your tires to the recommended air pressure, but don't exceed the maximum. When you take the vehicle out of storage, says Cars.com
Top Off Fluids
Finally, Cars.com suggests that before you leave your car for an extended period of time , top off your vehicle's fluids ̵
While in Storage
Keep It Covered
Cars.com suggests getting a quality cover that securely fits your vehicle, keeps out moisture and allows for air flow. This will help protect the exterior from bumps, scratches and dirt. It can be a good idea to put the steel cleaner in the intake and exhaust pipe to keep small animals from using your vehicle as a shelter, says Edmunds.
Protect the Battery
Don't forget the vehicle's power source : the battery. Note that a battery will eventually lose its charge if it is not driven at least every few weeks. If you prepare the car properly for storage, though, you do not need to run it to keep the battery charged. Cars.com suggests connecting the battery to a trickle charger or battery tender with an automatic shut-off feature or float mode. This will ensure the battery doesn't get overcharged. The battery can remain in the vehicle, while it is hooked up to the battery tender.