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What Happens If You Don’t Drive Your Car For A While

Things happen, and sometimes we use our car less because of them. Long vacations, getting a new car, getting rid of an old car, getting a work-from-home job, biking to work, going to college, and a lot of other things could make it so you don’t need to drive your car as much. But when a car isn’t driven for a long time, a lot of problematic things can happen to it. Here are a few things that could go wrong if you leave your car unused for too long. 


Your Battery Can Die 

If you leave your vehicle sitting for an extended period of time, there is a good probability that the engine will refuse to crank when you attempt to start it. One of the possible causes is the battery; because it is charged each time the engine is started, a battery that hasn’t been used for a significant amount of time would gradually lose its charge and become less effective over time, eventually not working at all.

Even if you don’t drive the vehicle for just a couple of weeks, the battery might die from inactivity, and if the battery is dead, you won’t be able to start the vehicle, which means calling a towing company. Be sure to disconnect the terminals on your vehicle if you don’t intend to drive it for a while, especially if you’re putting it into storage – it’s safer that way.

Your Tires Can Lose Pressure 

When a vehicle is parked for an extended period of time, the tires begin to lose air pressure. The amount of gas used, performance, and safety are all negatively impacted by low tire pressure.

Because of the weight that is continually pressing down on the wheels for extended periods of time, flat spots are also caused at the bottom of the tire. If you want to avoid getting flat spots on your tires, one tip is to put an additional 10 pounds of pressure in each tire. Another tip is, if you’re able to, just drive the car a few feet every now and then.

Oil And Fuel Can Go Stale 

Many of the components in your vehicle can’t function properly without the fluids in your engine, like oil, water, and fuel. For instance, the force necessary to apply the brakes comes from the pressurization of the brake fluid. If there were no power steering fluid, turning the steering wheel would require a significant amount of effort on its own. When a vehicle is left parked for an extended period of time, the fluids inside might become stale and pool in some locations. 

Old oil won’t keep things moving as well as new oil would. The oil keeps the metal parts from sticking together, so the engine doesn’t make a grinding sound or, worse, overheat. Every two weeks, run the engine for about 10 minutes or take a short drive to keep everything oiled.

Moisture Can Build Up

Because of the humidity in the air, it’s easy for moisture to build up in places like the corners of the car’s cabin, the brake fluid reservoir, and the gas tank. Corrosion – otherwise known as rust – can happen when there is too much water in a car. When that happens, the car’s performance and safety are affected, and repairs or replacements are needed, both of which cost money. You might even have to have the car scrapped if it gets too rusty. 

Tree Sap Can Cause Damage

When spring comes, tree sap comes out. Sap is a very sticky substance that trees make on their own. If you park your car under a pine tree on the street or in a driveway, you might find a sticky mess on your car when you go to drive it again. 

This might not sound like too much of an issue at first, but pine sap is very sticky and hard to get rid of. Even worse is that it can also be bad for the paint, especially if the clear coat is already damaged. As soon as you see it, use a tree sap cleaner to get rid of it. As the weather gets warmer, the sap will heat up and damage the paint even more. 

Faded Paint

You might think that parking away from trees is the answer to the paintwork problem, but that might just give you another issue to consider. If you leave your car outside without a cover to protect it from the weather, you’ll notice that the paint has turned a lighter color by the time you go back to it. 

This happens a lot to cars that have been in hot weather for a long time because heat can damage the paint. Sometimes the color gets dull, or even worse, cracks start to show up on the bodywork. Since the bodywork is the first thing people notice about a car, and it’s also a big part of figuring out how much it’s worth, it’s important to keep it protected. If you can’t store the car inside somewhere, at least use a tarp or car covering to protect it when you’re not driving it. 

Bird Poop

If you wash your car once a week, you can get rid of bird poop before it damages the paint. However, if you park your car under trees or near places where birds like to hang out, like utility lines, the bird poop will quickly build up into an unsightly mess. Bird poop is made up of uric acids, which don’t dissolve in water. This makes it hard to get rid of even one spot, let alone dozens. Bird poop can get through the clear coat, which is the car’s protective layer, just like tree sap can. Wash it off as soon as you can, but don’t use dish soap because it’s not made for cars.


When a car sits idle for too long, unwanted guests like roaches, spiders, rats, and even snakes may move in for the winter. It’s a lot more difficult than it sounds to get rid of these pests. Plus, these creatures can cause an accident by jumping out from behind the dashboard or beneath the seat and scaring you while you’re driving.