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5 Ways to Maintain Your Underused Car

Vishal Bhaskaran

Vishal Bhaskaran

2021-09-01

Here’s the contradiction: overuse wears a car out, but underuse causes damage too. Confused? Read on.

This is the face of an underused car. Here’s how you can keep it happy.

If you have multiple cars at home, have alternative daily transport arrangements or travel a lot for work, you may find that your underused car is giving you issues. Here are some things you should be doing, and what will happen if you don't.

1. Start your car

This is more affordable than buying a trickle charger unless you have multiple cars.

An idle car continues to draw charge from the battery even when you’re not using it. When you start it up, let your car idle for at least 15 minutes to maintain battery charge and engine health. This minimum time is crucial, as starting a car requires immense power and you need to at least make up for this initial draw. Make sure to keep all the accessories e.g. AC and radio switched off and maybe give your engine a few revs for a 10–15 seconds at a time to increase charging rate.

2. Move the car and inflate your tyres— once every 2 weeks

Underfilled, cracked and flat tyres are a danger to you and others on the road.

When cars are idle for extended periods of time, tyres can develop flat spots that reduce grip and are unsafe to drive with.⁣⁣ Move your car, preferably by driving it, at least once in two weeks and keep your tyres properly inflated to prevent sidewall cracking.⁣⁣ If you haven’t got the time to drive out to get your tyres inflated, you can get a portable electric air compressor to do so at home — get one you can plug into a wall socket instead of one that plugs into the car and draws power from your battery.

3. Air out and clean the interior — every 2 weeks

Moisture, dirt and pests can slowly infiltrate your cabin and damage your interior.

This one should be a regular part of your cleaning routine, but is easy to overlook when you car is garaged or kept covered. If it looks clean, it must be clean right? Wrong. An interior can become a container for humidity, which over time can lead to mustiness and worse still, mold. Air out your car every two weeks at the least to allow dampness to escape, and make sure there is nothing left behind that can attract insects, rodents or other pests.

4. Release the handbrake — if your car isn't going to move regularly for more than 3 weeks

The parking brake is really for slopes, as the gears are locked once a car is in “park”.

When you engage your parking brake, or handbrake, the brake pads are applied to the brake discs on the driven wheels. If these are not released for more than a few weeks, the pads can get stuck to the discs and degrade — you may have to force them apart by driving. Fortunately, there is an easy fix — just don’t use it. If your car is parked on flat ground, all you need to in an automatic is make sure it's in Park or “P” on the gear indicator or in first gear if its a manual car.

5. Fuel in the tank — should be as full as possible

Brimming your tank may not always be feasible, try to maintain at least this level.

This one takes the longest to occur but is on the nasty end of the damage spectrum for an idle car. If moisture happens to enter your fuel tank, it can rust on the inside. Rusting can weaken the structure of your fuel tank and even lead to particles entering your fuel system. As much as possible, try to keep the tank full of good quality fuel. When you see a couple of bars of your tank missing, from all the idling and short journeys, head on over to the petrol station to fill up.

Could I Make My Underused Car Work for Me Instead?  

While we’re on the topic of your underused car  - did you know you could use it to earn a second income by becoming a host on Flux?  All you have to do is sign up, list your car and start earning! Discover more and how much you can earn here - https://driveflux.com/become-a-host 

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