How Long Can a Car Sit Without Being Driven?

The world today looks a lot different than it did 6 months ago. Social distancing and limiting our interaction with others may have left your vehicle sitting untouched for days or even weeks at a time. While it may seem harmless to not use your vehicle, the truth is a car sitting without being driven isn't always a good thing. There are certain ways that you can both store your vehicle properly and take care of it while being idle that will prevent you from having to deal with a dead vehicle when you need it. 

A car sitting idle starts to have issues after a few weeks if it remains untouched, with a few contributing factors considered. Ideally, you want to start up your car at least once a week and drive it around for a good 20 minutes to help recharge the battery and get the fluids running. 

Let's look at some of the components that can suffer when your vehicle is left untouched for an extended period of time:

  • A battery can slowly lose charge after a while, especially if it isn't in the best condition as is. The alternator helps charge the battery as your vehicle runs, so without that extra charge, an already dying battery can suffer. 
  • Tires can quickly develop flat spots from sitting in the same position. This typically happens when tires aren't properly inflated, and flat spots can't necessarily be fixed - you'll more than likely need to replace the tire. Be sure your vehicle's tires are properly inflated if you know that your car will be idle for a while. 
  • Gas tanks can accumulate moisture when sitting idle, which can cause performance and fuel system issues once you do start up your vehicle. The best way to avoid this is by ensuring your car has a full tank of has if it is sitting idle. 
  • An idle vehicle can also attract critters, such as mice and other small animals look for shelter. While this may seem harmless, they actually start to chew on small wires that can affect your car's electrical system and eventually cause it not to start at all. Plus, they bring in debris and make nesting on components that can lead to issues. 

These are just some of the ways that your vehicle is affected while sitting idle. Don't let your vehicle sit idle for more than two weeks - at least get your vehicle started and get it running for a while. You'll end up saving yourself time and money on repairs, and you'll ensure that your vehicle is ready to go once you need it again. 

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