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What Happens to a Vehicle When it Sits Idle for More than a Week?

Whether you're something who doesn't drive often or you have a car that you don't use as much as another, you may wonder if your vehicle sitting idle has any effect on its performance or maintenance. A typical vehicle owner may think that not using a car can extend its lifetime and help better maintain it - however, this is not the case!

A rule of thumb to follow is to start your car at least once a week. This will help get the juice flowing and help prevent some of the issues that can occur with an idle vehicle. Think of your vehicle like your body - sure you want to rest, but you also want to get up and get exercise regularly to keep your joints moving and your blood flowing. Your vehicle needs the same exercise. 

So, what actually happens to your vehicle as it sits idle? 

  • The battery begins to lose its charge. When the battery loses its charge, you may find that you aren't even able to start your car. 
  • Your tires can lose air pressure and begin to warp or have flat spots due to the constant weight of your vehicle in a certain position. If your car is sitting idle, checking the tire pressure regularly can prevent this. 
  • Rodents can find a home within your vehicle, and your hoses and wires can be chewed through. This can lead to needing repairs performed and a car that won't start. 
  • If your gas tank isn't full, moisture can begin to form here which can start to corrode the fuel tank. This can lead to fuel system issues which can affect overall performance. To avoid this, be sure your vehicle's gas tank is always full before it sits idle. 

These issues can typically start to occur after two weeks of your car sitting idle, so even if you don't drive often, take your car out for a spin every week or so to at least get it moving. Drive it around for a least 20 minutes at different speeds to ensure that your battery receives some charge and fluids are able to flow. 

If you do find that you're having problems with a vehicle that has been sitting idle for a while due to the latest pandemic or other reasons, we invite you into Sherman Oaks Exclusive for Sherman Oaks auto repair today!