Are you looking for a straightforward guideline as to how often you should start a stored vehicle? There is no one rule of thumb for all cars, but we have detailed a few general guidelines to make sure you start your vehicle enough to preserve the engine components and keep everything properly lubricated. This can strongly rely on the preparations you do for putting your car in storage, so that must be factored into your timeline of how regularly your car gets started.
HOW OFTEN YOU SHOULD START A STORED VEHICLE
How often you must start a stored vehicle can depend on various factors such as the age of the car, condition, model, and any upgraded parts it has. To determine how often to start your vehicle, it is best first to gauge how long you will be away, whether it is short-term or long-term storage; long-term requires a bit more preparation and awareness on your vehicle.
SHORT – TERM STORAGE TIPS
STARTING UP IN INTERVALS
Short-term storage can be considered a few weeks up to half a year and only requires a little preparation. Create a plan for the car to be started up every couple of weeks to ensure it does not sit dormant too long and damage the automotive parts.
RUN FOR PROPER AMOUNT OF TIME
Make sure to run the car for at least 15 minutes to bring up the temperature correctly. It is also advised to test the fluid level and breaks to ensure that your vehicle won’t have any issues down the road; if either isn’t optimal, the car should be checked more like weekly or biweekly.
LONG – TERM STORAGE TIPS
COVER THE VEHICLE
The most important step for long-term storage if you don’t have a garage is protecting the vehicle from the elements by covering it. A waterproof car cover is the best option and can be found at any automotive retailer or online.
CHECK BATTERY CHARGE
If your car isn’t started regularly, the battery can lose its charge and die within as little as two weeks. Think of it like running the car for a short 15 minutes every couple weeks as the vehicle “stretching its legs.” This is how essential it is for the longevity of the car and the battery.
DO NOT USE THE PARKING BRAKE
Regardless of where you store your car, you may think you’re playing it safe by putting on the parking brake, but this can be harmful. When engaged for long periods, vehicles’ parking brakes have been known to cause the brake pads to come in contact with the rotors and fuse them together. A tire stopper, called a chock, is an alternative if you are parking the car in an area where it could roll.
HOW LONG IS TOO LONG? STARTING A STORED CAR
There is a cutoff point where it does not matter your car’s condition; you don’t want to wait longer than two weeks to start your car and drive the vehicle for about 15 minutes to keep the components in check. This is the standard recommended practice that gives you a good feel if your car is operating correctly.
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