Are you preparing for a business trip, or it's just that time of the year when you're away from your South Florida vacation home? This means your car will stay unused for a considerable period, which can impact its performance if not properly stored.
At Safe Home Management, we're concerned about seeing your properties in the best condition. That's why we've compiled the following car storage tips to help keep your car in good condition while you're away.
1. Disengage the handbrake before leaving
The handbrake is primarily designed to prevent your vehicle from rolling forward or backward whenever it's parked or stopped, so it can be tempting to engage them while you're away. Unfortunately, the handbrake isn't designed to stay engaged for an extended period, as that can cause the brake pads to become stuck to the disc or drums.
When this happens, driving the car on your return will be a hassle, so you want to avoid this scenario by disengaging the handbrake before leaving home. As an alternative, use wheel chocks like a brick or piece of wood to prevent your car from rolling, and make sure to leave it in first gear.
2. Park indoors or use a car cover
Your garage is the cleanest and safest place to park your car, especially for long-term parking. But if you don't have a garage, your next best option will be to buy a nice cover, one that properly overlays the entire body of your car. Doing this will prevent your car from damage due to harsh weather and the action of birds and trees in the surrounding.
It's important to note that when parking your car under a closed roof place, you shouldn't use car covers because it can cause any leftover moisture to build up quickly.
3. Spark plug protection
Before leaving for your long stay away from home, remove your car's spark plugs, apply a little oil into their sockets, and then insert them back again. Doing this helps keep moisture away and prevents the cylinder head from rusting.
If your plugs wear out, there will likely be improper combustion, and your car engine will be unable to ignite fully. But when you follow this spark plug protection technique, you can rest assured that your plugs are safe from rust.
4. Battery maintenance
Leaving your car battery unattended can cause it to lose its charge and be unable to start when you return. It's better to remove the battery and store it in a cool place free from direct sunlight. Also, ensure you fully charge the battery, top up the water level, and apply grease or petroleum jelly on the terminals, and the wire ends to avoid rusting.
However, if possible, the best option will be to find someone who can start and drive your car for at least 15 minutes every two weeks. We at Safe Home Management can help our clients regularly start and move their cars to ensure they remain in the best shape. Some benefits of doing this are :
Keeping every component of your car properly lubricated
Stretching the vehicle's legs, and
Maintaining the battery's charge.
5. Fill up the fuel tank
When your car's fuel tank stays empty for too long, moisture builds up within and eventually causes rust. You want to ensure you fill your vehicle with quality petrol to the brim and add some fuel additives to prevent moisture from getting inside. Afterward, seal the fuel tank properly, and you're good to go.
6. Change oil and filters
Used oil contains different corrosive elements, including moisture, metal powders, and sludge. If you leave the used oil in your car for a long time, the corrosive particles can instigate corrosion action and hurt your engine. Make sure to change the oil and filter before leaving your car for a long time to prevent corrosion.
7. Clean the car before parking
If you leave trash like old newspapers, chocolate, biscuit crumbs, or food particles in your car before traveling, they could rot or even attract rodents that can attack your vehicle's floor mats, seat covers, wiring, and so on. For this reason, cleaning your car thoroughly before setting out on your long-term journey is essential.
Other areas to clean for added safety include the wheels and undersides of the fenders to eliminate grease, mud, or tar.
Lastly, you want to jack up your car with four jacks (or wood blocks) to prevent flat spots on your tires due to the car's weight. Flat spots can be detrimental to your tires and potentially render them useless. Ensure your tires are properly inflated at the right pressure to prevent the sidewalls from cracking. Inspect the valves and caps for leaks and see that they fit well. Once you've done all these, you can leave your home feeling assured that your vehicle is in the best condition.