A car’s intricate parts and accessories can deteriorate, particularly when exposed to the elements for an extended amount of time. But even in a garage, your vehicle isn’t meant to sit stagnant for too long. If you plan on taking a break from driving for a bit, check out these four issues to watch out for when you’re ready to get back on the road.
1. Flat Tires
One or more flat tires may be the most obvious sign a car has been sitting too long. Tires flatten because, despite all the technological advancements made over the years, they are no match for Mother Nature and Father Time! Untended tires can gradually:
- Lose air monthly
- Develop flat spots that can permanently affect the tires’ ride quality
- Erode under constant punishment from the elements, even while in a garage
What To Do: Determine the necessary tire pressure for your vehicle by looking in your owner’s manual or the sticker on the driver’s side door jamb. Inflate each tire to the correct level while inspecting it for visible signs of wear. Finally, depending on how long the car sat, consider making your first stop your local Firestone Complete Auto Care for tire inspection, repair, or replacement.
2. A Dead Battery
It can be easy to spot severely under-inflated or flat tires. However, you’ll need to do a bit more to learn whether your car’s battery still works after sitting for a long time. The vehicle needs to run regularly to charge the battery. And while the battery is designed to hold its charge for some time, a battery needs support from the car’s alternator to stay charged and ready. Without the alternator running, the battery will slowly lose charge over time.
What To Do: If your car isn’t starting and you suspect a dead battery is to blame, grab some jumper cables and ask a friend for a jump. If available, you could also use a portable battery pack.
Even if the jump works, however, you’ll want to have a qualified technician check things out to ensure the battery is still good. Get a free battery test from your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care. We’ll replace your worn-out battery if necessary with an Interstate Battery — America’s #1 replacement battery.
3. Bad and Leaking Fluids
In addition to the tires and battery, extended rest can also do a number on your vehicle’s fluids — from gasoline and motor oil to power steering, brake, and transmission fluid.
Moisture can collect in the gas tank over time. If enough of it accumulates, it may interfere in the gasoline’s efficiency and even begin corroding the gas tank from the inside. Additionally, the molecular composition of other fluids can break down over time, and your vehicle’s hoses and gaskets can even dry out, weaken, or fail, causing the fluids to leak out.
What To Do: Inspect the area underneath your vehicle for any signs of leaking. Pop the hood to look for any cracked hoses or failed gaskets.
Once you’ve got your vehicle started, you’ll want to have the fluids and systems professionally checked. Head to your local Firestone Complete Auto Care for a thorough vehicle inspection and expert fluid exchange services. Our ASE-certified mechanics will look for leaks or weak components that could quickly produce unsafe driving conditions.
4. Invaders May Attack
Unwelcome guests like rodents, rats, mice, squirrels, and other pests can take up residence in a sitting car. You may find them crawling into the engine area and gnawing on the wiring harnesses or making nests in the engine bay.
Additionally, watch out for ants in the cabin area, perhaps attracted to long-forgotten snack chips, sugary candies, and other food items left behind from your last road trip.
What To Do: If your car starts and there are no signs of leaks or rodents, that might mean your invaders haven’t damaged the components required for it to operate.
However, you’ll still want to have the vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic, which can be done as part of the inspection it’ll need after sitting for a while. As for the ants: a thorough cleaning or detailing should take care of them.
Get Your Vehicle Back On the Road
Letting your car sit unattended for extended periods can significantly affect its curb appeal and internal components! When you’re ready to get your baby back on the road, play it safe with a Complete Vehicle Inspection from your local car care experts. At Firestone Complete Auto Care, we’ll inspect your brakes, battery, tires, and more to evaluate the potential damage of long-term parking, so you can safely get back on the road!