With normal life currently in flux for countless Long Islanders, many people have found that a normal driving routine is no longer a part of the daily grind. Working from home has become the new norm and while it is nice not to have a commute, what does a big decrease in driving mean for your car? You might think that no problems can arise from letting your car or truck sit idle, but that is not necessarily true.
If you have not been using your vehicle much at all due to quarantine precautions and new work-from-home arrangements, there is no need to worry; We here at Westbury Toyota have put together a quick list of easy things you can do to keep your favorite Toyota in top shape even if it is sitting idle.
Modern cars have sophisticated computer systems that are always working, so the longer you let your vehicle sit without starting it, the greater the chance your battery will drain. Try to start your car at least once a week and let it run for five to 10 minutes. If it is parked in a garage, be sure to open the door so that there is plenty of ventilation. If you are going stir-crazy from having to stay home, go for a short drive once or twice a week. This will get your car up and running, charge the battery, and also give you a much-needed break from being shut in.
Another reason to take your car out for short drives is to keep rust from forming on the brake rotors (which is more likely if your car sits outside as opposed to within a garage). Getting out for a drive at least once a week will prevent rust build-up and keep your brakes in good shape.
If your Toyota is sitting in one place for too long it can affect the tire pressure, which may lead to flat spots that can affect the way your car drives. Be sure to check the pressure during your weekly start-up, and also keep in mind that it would be even better just to take your car out for a spin around the block to keep your tires from developing bald spots. When you check the tire pressure, make certain that the pressure is at the recommended level as stated in your vehicle’s owner manual.
As the experts over at the Car Care Council point out, it is a good idea to keep the fuel tank full even when a vehicle is sitting idle because it reduces condensation as well as fuel oxidation. There’s also the concern that the fuel may go “bad” and if that is something you have been worried about, you can use fuel stabilizer. Fuel stabilizer extends the life of fuel that is not used as quickly as it usually is, and it can extend fuel freshness by as much as 24 months. If you plan on taking your car out for a drive once or twice a week, you will not need to use stabilizer, but it is still a good idea to top up your tank if it dips to the halfway mark.
Engine oil deteriorates even when a car is sitting idle, which is why it is so important to keep up with regular oil changes even if you are not hitting the mileage checkpoints. Be sure to pay attention to the recommended oil change dates as stated in your Toyota’s owner manual or by the friendly mechanics here at Westbury Toyota.
If you have been putting off cleaning your car, there is no better time to get that chore done than right now. Rust and grime can build up even if you are not driving, so be sure to give the interior and the exterior a good washing at least once a month (or more, if your car is stored outdoors). This task will keep your car’s exterior rust-free and shining and ensure that the interior is nice and tidy for when it is time to start driving regularly again.
The world may have come to a stand-still for the moment, but there are still some things that require regular attention, such as your Toyota. Be sure to keep it in good working and physical condition by taking the time to check the oil and tires and to start it once a week. It would be even better to take it out for a short drive through your neighborhood to keep everything in running as it should. By doing so, you will ensure that your car is ready to go when life shifts back into a normal pattern here on Long Island.