Although many situations could require us to leave our car stationary for an extended time, this problem is even more critical given that several nations have implemented confinement measures due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
Like governments in other nations, the Spanish government has imposed tight restrictions on travel, allowing it only when necessary for the job, health, or the provision of necessities.
Additionally, a lot of businesses have shut down, which has significantly decreased road activity. As a result, many cars must be ready to spend a lot of time individually or collectively parked on the street or in a garage.
Better in a garage than outside for our car.
We must take care of a few problems with our vehicle so that we can utilize it once more when the time comes to prevent breakdowns or complications brought on by extended idleness.
For this purpose, we should inspect several essential points and elements that we should inspect through various maintenance activities whenever the vehicle has been inactive for or will be inactive for a foreseeably lengthy amount of time.
If this is the case, we risk having trouble starting the car when needed. To begin with, though, we must distinguish between two distinct hypotheses: either the vehicle has been in use and will halt for a while, or it has been stopped for a considerable amount of time and has not been utilized.
How to get the car ready to be halted for a while
Preparing the car to be idle for a while will be our first topic of discussion. This can occur through governmental mandate due to the coronavirus, as is the case in our current situation, as well as through economic need or individual circumstances. In any scenario, the next step will be the same.
A place to park
Whenever possible, it is best to put the car in a garage where it will be protected from the elements and potential damage, and even reports to the police for claimed abandonment.
However, suppose parking the car on the street is the only option. In that case, we must make an effort to maintain it tidy and replace the oil sometimes so that it does not appear as though the car has been abandoned (obviously only if the situation allows it, not being the case in a confinement situation).
If we have a choice, it should be a protected and well-traveled area.
When we anticipate that the automobile will be stopped for an extended period, it is vital to clean the interior ahead of time to prevent decompositions, unpleasant odors, or material deterioration caused by dirt, humidity, or any other cause, which will be much more challenging to remove afterward.
The battery is the first and most evident of the vehicle’s mechanical components, so let’s start there.
Disconnecting the terminals of the same device is crucial to preventing further electrical consumption and eventual unloading. Reconnecting the airports will be sufficient when we need to utilize the car again.
Long-term parking can also have adverse effects on the wheels of our car because they gradually lose air pressure and distort because the same patch of rubber constantly supports the tread and sidewalls of the tire due to the permanent position.
To reduce deformation, it is advised to inflate them to a pressure higher than what is reported, typically around 3 bar.
Levels of fuel and liquid
Making sure that the gasoline tank is not left empty or in reserve is another task we must complete because doing so could cause it to degrade as it dries out. The tank should always be around halfway filled.
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It will be convenient to check the levels of the remaining fluids to ensure that the engine has enough of each.
By doing this, the engine’s components and systems will stay in good shape, and we won’t experience any issues when we restart the car.
What should I do if the car has been halted and I want to use it again?
Once the time has gone since we haven’t used the automobile, it’s time to restart it. To do this, it is advisable to recheck a few things, especially if we haven’t done any preventive measures in addition to the abovementioned precautions.
Checking the levels of fluid and fuel
We should check the gasoline tank’s level and the other engine fluids, such as the oil (which some experts advise changing after a long time of parking), coolant, brakes, steering, gearbox, and even the windshield wiper.
Particularly if we notice that the levels have decreased, we should investigate the possibility that a leak may be to blame.
Look over the engine belts.
When possible, we should check the condition of the belts and chains that the vehicle incorporates in the fuel because the straps are made of materials that can deteriorate with time, humidity, and temperature changes.
However, this point is more complicated for a person who does not know mechanics or has easy access to them in the engine compartment.
Additionally, the failure of components like the timing belt might result in an expensive and dangerous engine breakdown or even require a new engine.
Launching the vehicle
Finally, the time has come to restart the engine of our car. Despite everything mentioned thus far, we must proceed cautiously because prolonged inactivity and the immobilization of the engine’s internal components can cause issues.
If we find it difficult to start the engine after turning the ignition key, we must halt and try again as many times as necessary without pushing.
The starter motor, other components, or even the battery can be damaged if the key is left turn for longer than five seconds.
It is advised to keep the engine idling for a period of five or ten minutes after achieving (if it hasn’t been possible, we recommend that you consult our tutorials on the battery linked at the beginning of this article), allowing time for all the parts to resume their normal movement while the lubricant, coolant, and other engine-related fluids are redistributed.
After that period has passed, the car can be started and driven to ensure that all of its systems are functioning correctly.
The automobile shouldn’t be pressured to start; after it does, it is best to let it idle for a few minutes.
It is possible that after some time, without any movement occurring in any of the engine’s components, once the engine hears odd noises ne have started to circulate, we hear strange noises.
We will wait a few minutes with the engine running if the source of the noises is metallic to see if they go away once the engine is warmed up and adequately lubricated.
If not, it could be required to go to the mechanic’s shop to see if any parts have rusted or worn out too quickly.
If you hear squeaking, it’s probably coming from a worn-out belt. Therefore we’ll need to inspect each one individually to find the issue and stop it from getting worse and costing more money.
Above all, we must be patient in this procedure to avoid overworking a machine that has been idle for a while and is consequently susceptible to rust, seizures, or degradation.
Conditions may also get worse depending on our climate or region since elements like humidity are among our car’s deadliest enemies.