Wintry weather can keep you in your house and your car off the road for days at a time. Most of the time, not driving your car for a week won’t cause damage, and it will usually start right back up whenever you need to be on the road again. But keep the following in mind when you’re stuck inside by the fire:
Keep your battery charged
- Unplug charging devices (car chargers, USB cords, etc.) when not in use; they still pull a charge when the car isn’t running, and the last thing you want to do is change your car battery in the snow.
Keep your gas tank prepared
- Especially in the colder temperatures, if a car’s gas tank is too low while it’s sitting, condensation can collect (and freeze) inside the tank and cause damage to your engine. To prevent this buildup of moisture, make sure the gas tank is at least half full before leaving it parked for too long.
- Another issue with leaving your car unused for long periods of time comes when the ethanol in gasoline separates from the gas itself. If it separates, cycling it through the fuel and emissions systems can cause damage. To prevent this, add fuel stabilizer to the tank when you park.
Keep critters out of your car
- Parking underneath trees or near bushes and grassy areas can make your car a prime target for mice, squirrels, and other small animals looking for warmth and shelter in the cold weather.
Keep air in your tires
- Tires will normally lose some air after sitting for an extended period of time. Remember to check your tire pressure before you start driving again — underinflation causes early wear on the tires and can reduce handling quality. A handpump can be used to top off the pressure as needed and keep your tires ready to roll.
- Coolant, AKA antifreeze, is responsible for keeping your engine from freezing in the colder temperatures. Make sure your coolant is filled and your engine is free from any holes or damage that may cause leakage. You’ll thank yourself later when you don’t have an igloo where your engine should be
Keep your wipers in shape
- Pulling your windshield wipers into an upright position while your car is parked can prevent them from freezing to the windshield. If the wipers freeze to the windshield, pulling on them can cause damage to the wiper itself (rubber tearing, bending the arm, etc.) and lead to future issues, as well as damage to the glass.
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