Believe it or not, long-term storage can be hard on your vehicle.
Lots of things are on pause right now, and with mandatory lockdowns across the country, many of us aren’t using our vehicles very much.
Most people haven’t given much thought to the potential consequences of storing their vehicles without use for so long, and that’s because most people don’t realize that those consequences exist in the first place. However, it’s important to know that there are many problems associated with vehicle storage, as well as what you can do to avoid them.
Today, I hope to help you keep your vehicle running smoothly by going over the most common issues associated with storing your vehicle and what you can do to prevent them.
Common Vehicle Storage Issues and How to Avoid Them
#1. Flat Spots
When your vehicle remains stationary for a long period of time, it means that the entire weight of your vehicle is bearing down on just one spot on your tires that entire time. That can result in the rubber flattening out on the affected portion of the tire.
Flat-spotting isn’t something that will happen in a couple of weeks, but after a month or more of storage, it’s definitely a concern you’ll want to be aware of.
One thing that can increase the risk of flat-spotting is low tire pressure. Make sure to keep your tire pressure at the appropriate levels, which you can find by checking the manufacturer’s recommendations.
#2. Dead Battery
It may seem counterintuitive, but when you drive your vehicle, you’re actually charging its battery. And, when your car is sitting idle for a long period of time, the battery isn’t getting the charge it needs and will eventually die completely. Just because your vehicle is off, it doesn’t mean that it’s not using the battery. This is especially true if you have a high-tech computer and an alarm system.
Disconnecting the battery for vehicle storage is a good way to prevent it from draining even faster/
#3. Fused Brake Pads
When brake rotors are left unused, rust will eventually start to form on them, which can actually cause the rotor to bind to the brake pads if left for too long. Another thing that can cause the brake pads to fuse to the rotors is leaving your car in “Park” for too long, which keeps the brake pad pressed up against the rotor.
If you’re parked on a flat, even surface, don’t store your vehicle with the parking brake on. If you’re parked on an incline, remember that brake repair is preferable to a runaway vehicle, but you can always use a tire stopper to keep your vehicle in place as an alternative.
#4. Paint Degradation
Not only can long-term storage lead to a number of mechanical problems for your vehicle, but it can also damage your vehicle’s paint job. Bird droppings, sun exposure, dust, tree sap, and even water spots from nearby sprinklers can all damage your vehicle’s paint job over time.
If you have the option, park in a garage or under a shelter to protect your vehicle from the elements. If that’s not an option, try to wash your vehicle every few weeks, or, at the very least, spot-clean any necessary areas as needed.
#5. Pest Damage
Parking in a garage helps to protect your vehicle from exposure to the elements. It’s a dry, safe place to put your vehicle, but for these same reasons, the garage is also an ideal home for many different pests, including rats and mice. Unfortunately, these pests can get into your vehicle and cause real damage, like chewed wires and belts.
You can prevent pests from getting into your vehicle by covering any gaps where they could get into it, like the air intake and exhaust pipe. Steel wool is an effective solution for this. You could also consider positioning rat poison or mouse traps around your vehicle. But, even if you take these precautions, check under the hood periodically for pest damage.
#6. Other Issues
The different fluids in your vehicle can degrade in their own way. For instance, the fuel in your vehicle can start to separate, leading to the accumulation of water vapor in your fuel tank. Hoses and gaskets need to be lubricated regularly in order to prevent them from drying out and cracking.
How do you avoid these common vehicle storage problems?
Although there are different steps you can take to eliminate or reduce the risk of some of the above problems, the number one thing you can do to protect your vehicle is simply to drive it every once in a while. Ideally, you should drive your vehicle for 15 to 20 minutes once every two weeks. This will keep everything lubricated, charged, and working like it should.
Find an auto shop near you with Top Rated Local®.
I hope that this blog will help you avoid any problems related to vehicle storage, but if the damage has already been done or your vehicle is in need of maintenance or some other repair, find an auto shop near you with Top Rated Local.
With our one-of-a-kind local business directory, you can read an auto repair shop’s reviews from across the web, which will help you find one you can truly trust.
When you do find the right local auto shop, be sure to call ahead. Many local businesses are operating under different hours, and if you have an appointment, it means less time in the waiting area. When you call, you can also get a good idea of how long the appointment will take. If it will take more than a few minutes, it might be worth arranging for someone to pick you up, if possible.
Find a local auto shop you can trust with Top Rated Local today!