If you haven’t been driving your car as much recently, you’re not alone. A large majority of Americans have been under “stay at home” restrictions for several weeks, and a majority support the orders continuing for the near future to fight the spread of COVID-19.
While people are staying at home, the “need” to drive a vehicle has evaporated for more people who aren’t employees of an essential business. However, just because you’re supposed to stay home, doesn’t mean that your vehicle should be left in your garage or driveway for days, if not weeks, without moving.
Driving your car for several miles is a great way to keep it healthy and running well. A short drive will wake up all aspects of your vehicle, including the engine, brakes, suspension, power steering, climate system (including the air conditioner) and all its fluids.
However, you can do subtle damage to your car if it is left alone. Here is are some things that can happen if you don’t drive your car for an extended period of time.
The Battery Can Die
As one of the most integral pieces of a vehicle’s anatomy, a car battery needs to be kept healthy as much as possible. When a vehicle is stationary, a battery doesn’t have the opportunity to “recharge” like it would if a vehicle was constantly in motion. The longer a battery sits idle, the shorter its lifespan will become, meaning that when you finally do come back to drive after an extended period of rest, your vehicle might not start. A quick note: simply “firing” your engine will not give the battery the proper amount of time to recharge.
Tires Can Develop “Flat” Spots
Over time, tires lose air. As a car sits in the same place, a car’s weight continues pressing down on the only thing keeping it above ground, the tires. Over time, flat spots can develop where the rubber of the tire meets the surface of the ground. While adding air and driving the car to recalibrate the air pressure can “re-shape” the tires, not driving a vehicle for extended periods of time while the tires are under-inflated can cause permanent damage. You should be able to feel and hear this when you drive.
As you’re probably aware, many of the inner workings of a vehicle are metal. Without care or treatment, metal can rust when left exposed to weather and other outside factors. Moisture can build up throughout the internal combustion system, which can lead to areas of corrosion on these metal components. Corrosion in the engine can lead to many vehicular problems including blocked filters, less effective fuel usage, reduced lubrication and cooling, and more strain on the engine’s components.
Rubber Can Disintegrate
While there is a lot of metal inside of a vehicle, there is also a significant amount of rubber as well. When a vehicle doesn’t run for a long period of time, the belts, hoses, and seals inside your vehicle may begin to get brittle and disintegrate, causing the need for major repairs.
Even if you are stuck at home during this time, be sure to take your car out occasionally to ensure it is running properly and avoid these problems.
While you’re out driving your vehicle, our friendly teams at Milex Complete Auto Care are still working and providing our quality levels of service to our customers. Stop in to your local Milex location today if you think your vehicle is showing any warning signs after extended time off the road.