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Corin Cook

By: Corin Cook on January 10th, 2023

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6 Tips to Maintain a Car You’re Not Driving

Personal Auto | Individuals & Families | auto insurance | Learning Center | covid19 | coronavirus | individuals and families

If you're at all like us, you likely have a car in your garage or driveway that isn't currently getting a lot of attention. 

Whether it is due to seasonal downtime, traveling, working remotely, or even a pandemic - you may think it is fine to give a car a break and come back to the same as you left it. However, this may not be the case.

Leaving your car dormant for an extended period of time can actually lead to several maintenance issues.

In fact, after not driving for several days, last week I looked out the window to realize my rear passenger wheel was completely deflated.

And I’m not the only one. At Berry Insurance, we have been getting calls from our clients with car issues asking about roadside assistance on their auto coverage.

In an effort to help you avoid developing any issues with your car, (that’s the last thing we all need right now, right?) we’re offering some suggestions of how to keep your car running smoothly, even when you aren’t driving it often.

1. Drive occasionally:

If you're working remotely or staying inside during a chilly New England winter, it can become easy to never leave home and neglect your car. But, you shouldn't stop driving your car altogether. 

Aim to take your car for a short drive every couple of weeks, at least. 

Driving every once in a while will prevent any engine buildup that inhibits your car from running smoothly, and it will allow your battery to recharge so you won’t be faced with a dead battery when you finally do need your car again.

These drives could be a trip to the grocery store, a local walking spot, or an excuse to support your favorite local ice cream shop. 

Or it can simply be a few-mile joy ride while listening to your favorite playlist or podcast!

2. Take care of your tires:

If you leave your car parked in your driveway for an extended period, a slow leak or temperature changes could cause your tires to deflate.

Make sure your tires are filled to your vehicle’s recommended pressure before you park it, and check them regularly to make sure they aren’t losing air. 

You should also move your car every few weeks so your tires don’t develop worn spots from being parked in the same position.

You don’t want to wake up one morning and have to change a tire or use roadside assistance (like I did last week).

3. Don’t forget your oil change:

Remember, depending on your vehicle, you are supposed to get an oil change every 3,000 – 5,000 miles or 3-6 months, so if you aren’t driving often, you might actually hit the time requirement before the distance requirement.

Even when you aren’t using your car, the oil breaks down over time, so you’ll want to be sure you get your oil changed at least every six months.

4. Top off gas and fluids:

Before parking your car, top off your gas and other fluids such as windshield washer fluid, radiator fluid, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and coolant.

While you may not be using them immediately, empty tanks can rust, so keeping them full will ensure their durability and efficiency.

Besides, it will be great to know your car is all filled up when you’re ready to hit the road again!

5. Complete overdue maintenance:

If you’re anything like me, you might have a few minor maintenance issues you’ve been putting off.

Do you have a cracked windshield? Stuck window? Missing weather-stripping?

If you have extra time on your hands,  it may be a good time to get around to those items you never seem to prioritize on your to-do list.

6. Keep critters away:

It’s also a great time to clean up your car, especially if you don’t plan on using it for awhile.

Rodents often make nests inside unused cars, so be sure to remove any food containers that could attract them. You could also use mothballs or peppermint oil to deter the critters.

Even if rodents aren’t a threat, your vehicle will be fresh and comfortable when you’re ready to use it again.

Wondering if your auto insurance covers damage from critters and other pests? Learn more about how you policy protects you and your vehicle in event of these damages by reading this article: Does Car Insurance Cover Damage From Animals?

Be ready to hit the road again:

When your boss inevitably makes you come back into the office or its simply time to dust off the car again, be sure that you car will still be in working order through a little effort, attention, and routine maintenance. 

If you have a car that's taking up space in your garage or driveway, you be thinking about avoiding the maintenance hassle and giving it to someone else in your life who could use it. To learn more about how to go about gifting or transferring a car to another driver, check out this guide: Gifting a Car: What You Need to Know.

If you’re instead looking to save additional money on your insurance policies at this time, check out these ways to save on insurance during a crisis.