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How to care for your car when it’s been parked a while

Added May 28, 2020
A woman looking under the hood of a car

If your car’s been out of use for an extended period of time, there are things you can do to help it run smoothly when you’re ready to take it for a spin again.

Here’s our list of car maintenance tips to help keep your car in good shape:

Start and move your car

Make sure to periodically start and drive your car. Starting your car every now and then will help keep your car battery functioning properly. And, whether you drive down the street or just move it a few feet in your driveway, this will help your tires maintain appropriate air pressure.

Prep your car for warmer weather

Now that cold weather is in the rear view mirror, here are some simple things you can do to get your car ready for warmer weather and more frequent trips:

  • Clean your car’s interior: Let’s face it—items tend to pile up in our cars during the cold winter months. Now that the temperature is rising, add cleaning out your car to your to-do list.
  • Wash your car’s exterior: If you’re able, take your car to the carwash or give it a nice, old-fashioned wash in your driveway. Whether you use a hose or a bucket of soap and water, a quick wash will have your car shiny and ready to drive. If you want to go the extra mile, use a handheld vacuum and clean the interior of your car too.

Take a look under the hood

Pop the hood of your car and remove any leaf or debris buildup in or around the engine. Obstructions can cause problems to some of your car’s parts, so you’ll want to make sure everything looks nice and clean.

Check your car’s fluid levels

Check your air conditioning, wiper, and brake fluid level. If they’re not at the recommended levels, either refill them at home or make a note to get your car serviced by a mechanic once you’re out and about again.

Park in the shade

Protect your car from sun damage and heat by parking in the shade if a garage isn’t available. Another option is to purchase a car shade for your windshield or a car cover to protect the interior and exterior of your car.

Keep your gas tank full

Make sure to fill up your gas tank before your car sits idly for an extended period. This will prevent condensation from building up in your gas tank, allowing it to last longer. 

Don’t overuse the parking brake

Try your best not to use your parking brake for an extended amount of time. Using a parking brake for too long can cause it to stick, which may create problems down the road. If you need to secure your car for a lengthy period, try using a few parking blocks around your tires.

Most importantly, while you’re taking care of your car idled car, be sure to take care of yourself too. We care about you!

As always, if you have questions or concerns about your auto insurance policy at this time, we're here to help you.

Related links

Visit the Dairyland® website for more information about your auto insurance options.