Your car requires constant care and maintenance. If you don’t drive it for a few weeks or even months, it’s necessary to inspect it thoroughly before you start using it again. However, if you don’t know much about cars, you might not know what to check. Even if you spot a problem, you won’t be able to recognize it. That’s why we’ve decided to list the most common issues, and try to teach you the basics of what to check in a car that’s been inactive for a longer period of time.
Since rubber is a material that rots if inactive, you should inspect all the rubber parts of your car first. You should always start with tires. If there’s a puncture in any of them, it will be pretty obvious. On the other hand, if all the tires are inflated, look around them, to see if they’re damaged in any other way. Finally, inflate them to the right pressure and observe how they react.
Moreover, you should open the hood of the engine and take a look at the hoses. Put on a pair of gloves and perform a touch test on each of these hoses. The gloves will protect your hands in case any of them start leaking.
Once you’ve examined all the hoses and other rubber areas, look under the car, to check if there are any leakage spots. If everything is spotless, move on, to checking the fluids. You can start with the engine oil. Most cars have an oil dipstick so start with that and check the oil level. What’s more, if your car hasn’t been used for months and you haven’t changed oil for a while, you should have a mechanic changed it.
Apart from that, check the brake fluid. Not having enough of it can be fatal.
Also, don’t forget to inspect the level of the coolant. It’s usually a white plastic container under the hood.
Here you can read more about other car fluids and how to check them.
Since most modern cars rely heavily on electricity, car owners whose cars have been inactive for sometime should test these features, as well. You should start with the electric heart of your car – the battery. What you’ll need to perform this test is a voltmeter, and you should follow these instructions.
Besides the battery, try to open your windows and switch the air-conditioner on. If a window won’t open, it might mean that its motor is broken or it might be that the window got stuck due to inactivity.
The final step of this test should be the lights. If your lights don’t work, check the bulbs and the cables first. Also, if you decide to replace them on your own, make sure you adjust the lights properly.
Starting the engine
When you’ve checked the key parts of your car, you can start the engine. Put the transmission to a neutral position. Press the clutch and turn the ignition key. If the engine starts without any hiccups, let it work for a few minutes. Listen to your engine and try to hear if there are any strange sounds. When and if your car has passed this stage of testing, go for a short drive. Be gentle with the gear stick, and do everything slowly and carefully.Now that your car can be driven again,you should use it as often as possible. However, if you decide to go on a longer trip, ask around about the best roadside insurance services, so as to cover any potential inconveniences.
Drivers who know that they won’t be able to drive their car for some time should rent a garage and leave it there. However, if you don’t have such an option, you should at least protect it with a cover. Whatever you do, it’s necessary to examine your vehicle in accordance with our tips. Nevertheless, if you don’t feel comfortable doing these checks on your own, don’t take any risks, but contact a professional mechanic.