This will be much like putting your vehicle into storage before taking a long trip. We aren’t vacationing of course, but the end result is the same: our vehicles are going to sit, unused for a prolonged period of time, and there are several things you can do to make sure it will be ready for you when you need to use it next.
VEHICLE HIBERNATION TIPS:
Fill Up The Tank
- Minimize contact with other drivers or staff
Use contactless payment
- Bring lots of sanitizer wipes/spray
Check Tire Pressure
- Add 10 psi of pressure (more than usual) to each tire to prevent flat spots from forming on the tires.
Use a Sun Screen
- Especially important if you do not have a car cover or any type of garage to park your vehicle under. Any debris left on your vehicle could do permanent damage to the paint if left to cook in the sun.
Help Your Battery
- Start your vehicle every couple of days to keep the battery fully charged. Let the engine run for a few minutes, then turn it off. If you have one, consider using a “trickle charger” that remains plugged into the vehicle.
Prop Up Your Wipers(* if the vehicle is not covered)
- Prop up the wiper arms so the blades are off the windshield and won’t get stuck to the glass. This will also help remind you that if you car is exposed and later covered in debris, NOT to turn the wipers on or they may be torn up by whatever is baked onto the glass.
No Parking Brake.
- Don’t use the parking brake when storing the vehicle. The brake could become frozen, and the brake pads could rust to the rotors, or brake shoes could distort the drums. With an automatic transmission, simply place the vehicle in park. If the car has a manual transmission, put it in first or reverse gear and use wheel chocks to help hold the vehicle in place.
What is “Lot Rot” and How Can You Prevent It?
“Lot rot” is a slang term used to describe what can happen to a vehicle – even a brand new one – that sits unused for too long. It’s not a problem that many people think about because most of us use our vehicles almost daily, but it’s important to understand that cars and trucks are not designed to sit. They’re designed to be driven constantly and when they’re not, things can actually start to go wrong.
Don’t let your vehicle sit for more than two weeks if at all possible.
The first thing to start showing signs of “lot rot” is your brakes. A gentle ride around the neighbourhood can help remove the rust building up on discs and drums. Don’t go fast, or hit the brakes hard, just do a bunch of gentle stop-and-go driving. You may even notice squeaking or light grinding when you first use your brakes. That’s “lot rot” rust build-up. If you haven’t let the rust get serious, then a few minutes of regular driving will likely make that go away.
A quick 10-minute drive will also help keep the battery charged, let all the parts move and function normally, and generally let your vehicle “stretch its legs” before taking another nap. Using these tips to help keep your vehicle in good shape will make sure that when all this has passed, it will be ready to take you anywhere you want to go.
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