Occasionally there comes a time when you don’t need to drive your car for a long period. This may be because you are going abroad or because you have bought another vehicle to drive instead. If this is the case then you should be aware that there are certain things which you need to do in order to ensure that the car is in good working order when you want to drive it again. There are a number of things that cause degradation to your car if it is left standing. Firstly the battery can go flat as it is not being recharged and secondly the car could suffer from the effects of corrosion depending on the conditions in which it is stored. To avoid these problems you need to prepare your car prior to it being left. Preparations for leaving your car standing will depend on how long you are planning to leave the car in storage for. If the car is to be left for up to one month then you should consider, making sure that the cooling system has been filled with a high quality anti-freeze, and any existing anti-freeze has been replaced if it is over one year old. If the car is being stored in a secure place such as a garage, then you can leave the windows partly lowered to avoid problems caused by condensation. To reduce corrosion, any unpainted metal parts on the car can be sprayed with a water dispersant like WD40. It is best to leave the handbrake off as long as the wheels of the car are securely chocked and it is safe to do so.
If you are planning to leave your car for up to three months then in addition you may want to remove the battery. Before you do this make sure to check whether the on-board computer will be affected by this action. Also you should make a note of the code on any coded radio before removing the battery lead. The battery terminals should be cleaned and the battery will need to be slow charged every four to six weeks. There are some chargers designed to slowly recharge car batteries, and these can be left on all the time. If this is not a suitable option you may need to arrange for someone to charge your battery for you if you are away.
For periods of time over three months then consider the advice above as well as lubricating all the locks and oil filter and place the vehicle on blocks so that pressure is removed from the tyres. When you come to use the car again it is recommended to arrange a full service to ensure the car is in good working order.
If the above actions prove difficult to carry out there are companies who will store and look after your vehicle whilst you are not using it. If you are going away for a period of time it may be more cost effective to ask someone to use the car once a twice a month to keep it ticking over. You should be aware that in this situation your car insurance needs to be current and the person driving your car should be fully covered to do so. Leaving your car standing for a period of time should not cause any problems as long as the car is fully prepared and looked after carefully.