6 things to do while your car is off the road
Cars are made to drive. What should you do if your vehicle sits parked too often?
With hybrid work becoming increasingly common, there are fewer opportunities to drive your car.
Many mechanics agree that it is far riskier to leave a car parked than it is to rack up kilometres on the odometer day after day.
A car is like the body: it has to move regularly or else it will become stagnant. And, like the body, an older vehicle risks suffering more if it is not driven.
1. Drive at least once a week
Head out for a 10-minute drive at least once a week. It is better to hit the highway than cruise around neighbourhood streets to give your car’s parts a better workout.
This short run is vital for the health of your battery, alternator, fluids and tires.
Pump on the brakes a bit more than usual while you are driving. Switch on the windshield wipers. Turn on the ventilation system.
If you own several vehicles
Alternate your weekly ride so all vehicles get out of the driveway from time to time.
Use your oldest vehicle to get around if you need to make several stops.
2. Use the handbrake
When the handbrake is engaged, it loads the brake cables, which then deploy the brake lining against the brake drums or the brake pads against the discs.
Regular handbrake use, even on cars with an automatic transmission, is essential for the proper functioning of all these parts.
Follow this recommendation especially during the winter when corrosion or rust can prevent parking brake parts from working properly.
3. Check tire pressure
Even when you are not driving a lot, your car tires lose pressure to the tune of about one pound per square inch per month.
You should therefore check the tire pressure every month using a manometer.
Check it before driving or three hours after taking a spin.
Look at the sticker on the inside of the driver-side door for recommended pressure levels or check the vehicle’s owner manual rather than relying on what you see indicated on the tire.
4. Follow the maintenance schedule
Don’t skip your next scheduled garage appointment just because the car is mostly sitting parked.
Follow vehicle manufacturer recommendations and keep making regular visits to the garage for necessary maintenance, regardless of mileage.
Ask to have all fluid levels topped up during your appointment:
- Motor oil
- Brake oil
- Transmission oil
- Power steering fluid
- Differential and transfer case fluid for all-wheel drive systems
- Emission control system fluid
5. Fill the gas tank
A full tank of gas prevents condensation from building inside the tank.
Fill it up to the limit.
6. And tread softly as we get back to normal
Take it easy on your vehicle when you start driving every day again.
Adjust your driving and avoid sudden and extreme manoeuvres.