This article contains affiliate links. Using any of the links on this page will allow me to earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. The answer to this question isn’t as simple as “forever.” On days when I was too lazy to get out of bed and rev my automobile during the Covid-19 shutdown, I kept asking myself this question. To put it another way, the pandemic has made us realize just how unnecessary our cars are. Don’t even get me started on working from home now that many offices have realized we don’t have to show up to work to get work done because our trips to the grocery store are limited to buying only the necessities.
Because we don’t know when life will return to normal, our big boy and girl toys may have to be parked for long periods of time moving forward. Many of us have already scheduled holidays after Covid-19, which means that many automobiles will have to sit idly for months before they can be started again. Your car’s battery health dictates how long you can go without starting it. At least two weeks should be possible for most modern cars with a healthy battery. As we’ll see later, there are other factors to take into account as well. Here we go: Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of what occurs when an automobile sits for too long.
What’s the matter with your car?
It’s easy to hold Covid-19 responsible for all of 2020’s ills; yes, it’s the bad guy, but let’s be fair here.
Why Are You Not Starting/Driving Your Car?
People leave their cars unattended for a variety of reasons. Let’s take a look at a few of them. Traveling for business or pleasure
Many people travel at least once a year for vacations or work, leaving their automobiles parked for long periods of time without ever being started. Summer vacations for me require at the very least a three-week hiatus.
Obtaining a driver’s license before purchasing a car
You can let us know in the comments area if you are or were a member of this group, and we promise not to look down on you. There are many reasons to park an automobile for an extended period of time, such as this. You guys better make sure you pass your driving exam before you start moving the car!
Injuries, illness, and death
People who have been involved in an accident or are otherwise unable to get behind the wheel may be forced to leave their vehicles parked for long periods of time. Even worse, some people may pass away and leave behind automobiles that no one will be able to operate. Even if you’ve already left your car unattended for an extended period of time, you’ll want to keep reading since we’ve got a lot to say regarding how long you can leave your automobile unattended.
What Happens When A Car Sits Too Long?
To put it simply, the battery in the car is about to die. When you’re finally ready to go behind the wheel, you’ll either have to recharge the battery or buy a new one. Even when a car is turned off, several of its capabilities, such as keeping the alarm awake, remote control operation, auto-siren function, sensing any collisions, detecting car theft, etc., require power to function correctly. The battery is required for all of these, and if it isn’t recharged, it will be depleted. Older cars, on the other hand, had longer battery lives since they lacked the latest technology. When the automobile isn’t regularly used, the battery in newer models doesn’t last as long because of the numerous devices and exciting features they come with. In addition to the battery, you may have to deal with the following problems if you leave your automobile unattended for an extended period of time:
Relatively thin tires.
deterioration of seals and gaskets
Insufficient fuel flow.
deterioration of motor oil
As a result, whether you’re curious in what happens to a car after a year or two or two decades, the fact is that most cars that have been sitting for a year or more have suffered various effects.
How Long Can You Leave A Car Without Starting It?
To begin with, as previously said, if you leave your automobile unattended for more than two months without starting it, you risk draining the battery. However, there is no set period of time for an engine to be shut off. After 15 years of sitting passively, I’ve seen some cars start up, while others that were just purchased and parked for less than a month still wouldn’t. For this reason, there is no definitive answer to the question of how long an automobile can go without starting. The engine of a well-maintained car can be kept unused for a period of time. An engine can be turned off for any length of time. Maintaining a vehicle is essential.
While some vehicles can last for decades, some vehicles can only last a few days. To a large extent, this is determined by the vehicle itself. For the most part, the ability of an automobile to start depends on numerous different things, which we’ll go into later.
Things That Will Affect Your Car When Left For So Long
Before deciding to leave your car parked for an extended period of time, keep in mind some of the following points.
Type of Car/Model
Cars with today’s high-tech amenities may have a hard time sitting inactive for long periods of time. More battery-draining functions are found in modern cars, according to this theory. These newer cars have built-in alarm systems, security chips, and other technologies that run even when the vehicle is not in use. It has been claimed that some of these features have little or no effect on how long your car can be left unattended. Did your current vehicle start when you tried to start it after a period of inactivity?
Battery health of the car
Any machine’s battery should be taken into account at every step. Long amounts of time without starting your automobile might be detrimental to the life of your car battery. Because the alternator charges the battery when the car is being driven, many of us don’t realize that our batteries are weak until it’s too late.
When the car is left alone for an extended period of time, the battery drains and the engine won’t start. Before leaving your automobile parked for an extended amount of time without starting, examine the brand, condition, and age of the battery.
Before putting your automobile away for a long period of time, make sure that the storage conditions and the storage area are as comfortable as possible. The environment’s moisture and dust should be kept to a minimum at all times. You should also be on the lookout for car-eating pests like rats and squirrels. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time and money fixing them, keep them away from the car. Before you leave your automobile for an extended period of time, it is recommended that you remove the battery or disconnect the battery terminals. If you plan to do this, be sure it’s safe for your vehicle by consulting with your mechanic.
The Fuel in your car
Before leaving the car for an extended period of time, keep in mind the sort of fuel it consumes. If you don’t expect to use your automobile for a time, be sure to empty the tank of all of the gasoline. Because if you let it sit for too long, it may be an issue. No, when I say “sit,” I don’t mean for three weeks; I mean up to five or six months at most. The length of time that a car can go without being utilized can also be affected by naturally occurring events, such as the weather. In the winter, for example, it is recommended to start your automobile more frequently than in the summer. Cars, I suppose, also become cold.
When storing your car, it’s important to keep moisture levels low. For obvious reasons, there is a great deal of moisture in the air throughout the winter.
Car maintenance pre-parking
An engine or a well-maintained car can be kept off for months, in many circumstances. How your automobile behaves before you leave has a significant impact on how it will behave when you actually use it. Always have your car serviced, have the oil changed on time, and make sure everything is in working order before you leave. In the same way that your health deteriorates over time, so does your vehicle.
How To Prepare Your Car For Storage
There are a few things that can go wrong if you leave your automobile sitting for an extended period of time without starting it, and there are a few other factors to consider. There are a number of things you can do to ensure that your vehicle is safe and functioning properly even after it has been parked for months or even years.
Keep your battery charged
When you’re not using your car’s battery, it’s a good idea to connect it to the proper charger. When it comes to battery chargers, there are generally two types: those that are designed to preserve a fully charged battery and keep it operating, and those that are designed to revive a dead one. In order to keep your car’s battery charged while it’s parked, I recommend purchasing a trickle charger or battery maintainer. Auto parts shops, hardware stores, and Amazon all carry them. Maintaining a continuous flow of electricity to the battery is the primary goal of the chargers.
Add new fluids
If you’re going to leave your automobile for more than a few months, you should perform fluid changes. Why? Because the pollutants in spent motor oil, power steering fluid, and brake fluid might lead to future issues with your car. The only way to avoid further damage to your vehicle is to put new fluids to the vehicle before you park it.
Add fuel stabilizer
Your gas will last longer if you add a chemical fuel stabilizer to your tank. To keep your fuel fresh for up to two years, we recommend using STA-BIL. On Amazon or at a nearby car parts store, you can get it. Make sure you use the exact amount of stabilizer as indicated in the instructions. Then fill up your tank with gasoline and do the same with the mixture. Make sure you read and follow the instructions on the fuel stabilizer package before you use it.
Park it in a good environment
If you want to park your vehicle for an extended period of time, we strongly recommend that you leave it in a controlled environment like your garage. If you don’t have a garage, you can also protect your car by purchasing a car cover. You should also avoid parking on grass, as excess moisture might cause corrosion to develop under the vehicle.
Protect the tires
Consider parking your vehicle on blocks to prevent flats and brittle tires. These steps can be accomplished by raising the car and then placing blocks beneath the vehicle after the vehicle has been jack-stand supported.Tire deformation and damage can be avoided by removing excess weight from your tires.
Wash your car
Before putting your child to bed, give it a thorough bath. This is due to the fact that removing dirt and other impurities, such as road salt and dust, will help prevent paint damage and rusting. It’s also possible to protect your vehicle’s underneath from corrosion by using a vehicle undercoating or other rust-protection substance.
Mouse-proof your car
To keep rodents out of your vehicle, place some mouse repellent goods inside and under the vehicle. Scent deterrents, electronic sound deterrents, and mousetraps are a few of the solutions we provide.
Don’t engage the parking brake
However, even though it is always a good idea to use your car’s parking brake everytime you park, it is best not to do so when you are going away from your vehicle for a long amount of time. Because of corrosion, the parking brake shoe can become fused to the rotor or drum, leaving you unable to move the car and frustrated. Using a wheel chock or a block behind your tires will keep your vehicle from rolling while it is stopped.
How To Save Your Car Battery When Not in Use
Car batteries should be disconnected and their connections coated with a thick layer of gel to prevent them from overheating. I’ve already mentioned that you should consult with your professional before removing your car’s battery, as doing so could result in problems. Make sure that your car battery is correctly installed and that all of the wires are in order before you start the automobile. Short circuits can be caused by incorrect cell connections. When your car is parked for an extended period of time, the best approach to extend the life of your car battery is to use a trickle charger, which keeps the battery charged even when it is not in use.
How Often Should You Start a Parked Car?
The general consensus is that starting the car’s engine on a regular basis prevents the battery from dying and the car’s overall condition from deteriorating when it is left parked for an extended period of time. But in reality, it doesn’t really matter. If you start your automobile and don’t drive it for a few minutes, it won’t reach its maximum operating temperature. This can cause the exhaust pipe to accumulate condensate and oil, which will not be burned off and might cause catastrophic damage over time. Driving your car rather than leaving it parked for an extended period of time is preferable. However, if you plan to drive it only a few times each month, aim to go at least 10-15 miles per trip at a speed of at least 50 mph.
How long can a car go without a power source? However, even though it is out of our hands to make the final decision for a machine, we can do our best to keep everything listed in check. We’ve discussed how factors like as the car’s model, storage, pre-parking maintenance, and battery can affect its ability to start after being idle for a period of time. Make sure to keep in mind that batteries don’t store well, and fuel systems can have issues if they aren’t properly packed for storage. For some reason, mice and other rodents usually find their way into parked cars. Remove any food that can attract them to your vehicle. ” Ensure that you thoroughly inspect your car before driving it again if it has been parked for a long period of time. Don’t forget to inspect the brake system, wipers, headlight/trailer light assemblies, and other critical systems of the vehicle.