When it comes to maintaining multiple vehicles, it’s often your primary ride that gets the most attention. Meanwhile, secondary vehicles — whether they’re classic cars, summertime convertibles or pickups reserved for heavy jobs — are sometimes forgotten.
You might not think a vehicle you only drive occasionally would need much maintenance, but sitting in the garage can be surprisingly taxing on a car. Here are five tips to prepare a seldom-used vehicle for long-term storage.
1. Clean the whole car
This first tip might come as a surprise. Shouldn’t you wait to clean your car until you take it out of storage? According to Allstate, cleaning the inside and outside of your car before putting it away is important too. Water stains and bird droppings could damage the vehicle’s paint. Also, leftover food wrappers — perhaps from your favorite convenience store snacks — can attract bugs and small animals.
2. Inflate the tires
Over time, a slow leak can significantly deflate a tire. What’s more, changing temperatures can also impact the air pressure in your tires. No one wants to get stuck changing a flat, so cars.com says it’s a good idea to inflate tires before storing your car away. As always, refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for information on the correct tire pressure.
3. Keep the battery charged
If a car battery sits idle too long, it will eventually lose its charge. According to Edmunds, the best way to help prevent a dead battery is to drive your car periodically. Alternatively, Edmunds says you can also disconnect your negative battery cable, although this will likely reset your vehicle’s clock, stereo presets and other settings. Still, it beats having to jump-start your car.
4. Change the engine oil
Even when your car isn’t in use, heathy oil is important for keeping moving parts protected. The longer an oil has been used, the less effective it becomes at protecting against corrosion. That’s why it’s never a bad idea to give your vehicle a fresh dose of high-quality engine oil from Cenex® before putting it away. Be sure to run your vehicle for at least 15 minutes before storage to allow the oil to circulate.
5. Top off the tank
Running on empty is never a good idea, and neither is storing on empty. Before putting a vehicle away, it’s important to minimize airspace in the fuel tank. Extra room in the tank means more opportunity for moisture to accumulate, which can cause major problems with your fuel line. This is why vehicles should always have a full tank of fuel before storage.
Protect your car on the road
When it comes to maintaining an infrequently driven vehicle, proper storage is only half the equation. To keep a seldom-used car in good condition, it’s important to maintain it while in use too.
An easy way to help maintain any vehicle is to fill up with a quality fuel like Cenex TOP TIER™ Detergent Gasoline. Low-quality fuel can leave behind harmful deposits, resulting in expensive repairs.
Cenex TOP TIER™ Detergent Gasoline has 2.5 times the cleaning power of regular fuel, removing deposits left behind by low-quality fuels and helping prevent new ones from forming. The result? Less time at the mechanic — and more time joyriding.
Find Cenex TOP TIER™ Detergent Gasoline at Cenex locations near you.