If you’re the type who travels frequently for work or pleasure, you’ll need to find a place to park your car for the long term. When a car is not driven for a long period of time, it is not getting the care and uses it requires which would lead to some damages. Just because a car is sitting still in a parking lot doesn’t mean there won’t be any wear and tear. Below are nine tips on how to protect your car when parked for a long time.
A Safe Spot
One of the most important things to decide when parking your car for the long term is finding a safe spot to store it. The ultimate way to protect your vehicle is to keep it parked in a private garage such as your own, or in a long-term car storage lot in your local area. You can also keep your car parked in the garage or lot of a trusted friend or family member. It is risky to leave your car parked out in the street for a long time because street parking rules are likely to change due to construction, events, or street cleaning schedules.
Depending on what region of the country you live in and what time of the year you’ll be leaving your car parked, it is necessary to do the research as to how to best weather-proof your car. Be sure to check the weather regularly so that you know exactly how to care for your vehicle. If you’re parking your car for the long term to avoid using it during the heavy snow period, be sure to top off your antifreeze (coolant).
Having a basic security system is a good idea when you’re leaving your car parked for a long time. You can keep your basic car alarm on. In case anyone opens the door, the alarm will set off. You can also add a steering wheel lock. These securities will help deter car theft. Now, these options are helpful but will not prevent a theft of a vehicle but can encourage a potential assailant to move on to another vehicle.
Install a Boot
A vehicle boot or a wheel clamp is a car theft prevention tool that prevents your car from being moved and stolen. Be sure to finalize your decision as to where to park your car before installing the boot for long term parking so that you don’t need to remove it and reinstall it again. Make sure you check the wheel size that your vehicle boot is made for to make sure that it will fit your vehicle’s wheel. Different car boots are made for different sizes of wheels. If you don’t, the car boot might not function correctly and you could be out of luck when it comes to someone stealing your car.
Keep Your Car Covered
One of the downsides to keeping your car parked outdoors for a long time is the weather that might cause paint damage. Keeping your car parked in garages prevents fading paint. If your home has a garage, consider parking your car inside. If you have a friend or relative who has a garage that is unused, this is another option. Experts say that garages prevent fading paint. In addition to keeping your car parked inside of a garage, you can cover your car with a tarp for added protection. If you’re keeping your car parked outdoors, you should definitely use a tarp to cover your car. Weather damage can fade your car paint.
Clean Your Car
Whenever you leave your car parked for a long time, it is very important to make sure your car is clean. Never ever leave food or drinks inside your car when it is unused for a long time. Insects can easily crawl inside and take over your vehicle by finding their way towards crumbs and sugary drinks. Take your car to a carwash and have it professionally washed, vacuumed and wiped down. This will help prevent bugs and other critters from entering your vehicle and turning it into a home while you’re away.
Don’t Leave Any Valuables Inside
As a general rule, it is a good idea never to leave any valuables in your car, but this rule is especially important when you’re leaving your car parked for a long time. If you have cash, jewelry, digital devices (laptop, phone, tablet) or anything else that is valuable, keep it locked up in storage other than your car. Even if you leave your car parked in entrusted hands, accidents can happen.
Fill Your Gas Tank and Disconnect Your Battery
Filling up your gas tank when you leave your car parked for a long time is a good idea. If your gas tank is empty or if there is room for moisture to build, this could cause rust. You can also add a gas stabilizer. This prevents oxidation during long term non-use. Disconnecting your battery is also recommended to prevent your battery from being drained during its non-use.
Car Check-Up and Tune-Up
Getting your car checked for basic care is a good idea before leaving your vehicle behind for long term parking. Get an oil change if it’s time to do so. Check and see if the tires have enough air inside and that the tire pressures are good. Make sure your battery is also good. Ask your mechanic to check it for any leaks. Ensuring that your car is in great condition will help you return to your car in great condition as well.
Leaving your car behind for a long time can cause some anxiety but there are ways to help reduce it by taking steps to ensure its care. Keeping it parked in a storage lot or garage is perhaps the best thing to do. Make sure it is covered with a tarp to protect it from the weather or general paint damage. Be sure to keep any valuables out. Take the time to clean your car out. Vacuum it up for crumbs and wipe down the interior as well as the exterior of your vehicle so you return to a nice clean car when you use it again. Take prevention measures such as a wheel boot and steering wheel clamp to prevent auto theft.
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