What happens if your car is left standing and not used

Sometimes you might find your car doesn’t need to be used as much, or you have a classic car which isn’t used during winter months. Find out what happens if your car is left standing in this article and what to check when you need to use your car again.

VW beetle end of production

What happens to your car’s battery when your car’s left idle?

When leaving your car stationary for a long period of time, your battery is likely to drain with electronic equipment such as alarms and radios slowly consuming the remaining battery power. If the power has drained, then you may notice the clock has stopped or is telling the wrong time, the car won’t open using your key fob, or it just doesn’t have enough power to start the engine. Most of the time using a car battery charger or jumpstarting from another vehicle will charge the battery sufficiently enough for you to start the engine. Ideally, if you’re planning to leave your car idle for a long time, investing in a suitable battery charger and charging it every month will prevent it draining completely and can also maintain the battery’s long term health. Alternatively, running your car’s engine for approximately 20 mins every fortnight can help recharge your battery.

Damp car after being left standing

If your car is not being used it is likely to get damp over time, which is especially true during the winter months. Moisture not only builds up inside the car but also under the bonnet and fuel tank, which if left too long can lead to corrosion – older cars would be even more susceptible to this. Therefore, if you can run the vehicle every couple of weeks and run it so that the cabin is heated for a period of time. Alternatively you could use a heater to heat the vehicle, or keep it inside a warm garage to limit the exposure to moisture.

Maintaining car tyres

Your tyres are also important to check after a period of stagnation. An average tyre lifespan is between 5-6 years and they can degrade after this time regardless of how many miles they’ve experienced. Signs of cracking may appear on the tyres which should be checked by a professional before using. Also tyre pressure is likely to decrease over time, therefore pump your tyres up to pressure first before checking them fully. Occasionally, tyres can go flat and if left for too long, the wall of the tyre can be damaged and should be replaced. Also make sure to check that your spare wheel is adequate.

Dust on car, plus wiper blades

Leaving a car untouched for long periods can result in dust build up. Whilst this may seem cosmetic, ensure that the windows and lights are wiped clean before reuse. It’s also a good time to check the windscreen wipers and replace them if they’re broken or leaving smears.

Check engine oil and lubricants

On older cars, leaks may be common. Therefore check all of the fluid levels on the car periodically to ensure that they’re kept topped up. This can include checking the radiator coolant, engine oil and brake fluid levels to avoid major damage.

Car service in Radstock, near Bath, UK

Here at MCM Garage in Radstock, near Bath, we provide full and partial servicing for all makes and models or cars. If your car has been left idle for too long, it’s wise to book an appointment with us online to check and service your vehicle. We can also assist with MOTs as well if your car requires it via our sister MCMOT Centre MOT station next door. Contact us online or call 01761 415 501 to book your appointment today.