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Ready for the big trip? Have you got everything in order? Preparing your car is yet another chore to be crossed off your checklist, and it requires some time to take care of the details. However, it’s definitely worth it. There’s nothing more annoying than coming back home after a long absence only to have to deal with problems right away. For instance, your car is damaged or it won’t start. There’s no need for facing harsh reality the moment you arrive, is there? For this reason, here are a few tips on how to keep your car in perfect condition until you come back from your trip, even if it’s a long one (for instance, over a year).
Protection from Elements (and All the Rest)
If you haven’t got a garage, it’s essential that you get one of those car covers to protect your beloved machine. Bird droppings and sun can cause damage to the paint, and there are some other animals with claws and paws which could take advantage of your car’s surface. If you haven’t got a garage, it would be advisable to leave it in a closed public parking space. On the other hand, if you own a garage, make sure it has a door of the highest quality. It’s not just about the elements—it’s about the thieves, too.
Fully Charged Battery
If it’s not in use, the car’s battery will soon become empty, and you don’t want that to happen. The best way around this is to ask a friend or a relative to start the car every two weeks and drive it around for at least 15 minutes. You don’t want to struggle with an empty battery the moment you get back from the airport.
In case you can’t find someone helpful, you can always disconnect the negative battery cable, or buy a battery tender, i.e. the trickle charger, to keep the battery charged.
Clean it inside out.
Have your car cleaned on the inside and the outside. Yes, it seems paradoxical since you won’t be driving it for quite some time, but it’s actually highly recommended. You don’t want some part of the trash to become mouldy, and waxing your car will come in handy if it’s parked outside.
Fill it up.
With all the liquids necessary. First, fill up the tank, even if it’s usually never full on regular days even. The evaporation from an almost empty tank can cause corrosion, so you had better top it up with fuel. Also, in case your car is left on its own for more than six months, you’ll need a fuel stabilizer. Once poured, its effects can last up to a year.
As for the oil, you needn’t think much about it, unless the car is abandoned for more than a month. In that case, change the oil prior to setting off.
Tires and Air
On the one hand, if you’re leaving your car for some time unattended, it’s advisable that you actually over-inflate the tires a little bit since they’ll lose some gas anyway. On the other hand, if you’ll be gone for more than a year, save yourself the trouble and buy some cheap, used tires while the new ones are set aside, waiting for your comeback.
One of the reasons why your car should be in pristine clean condition is the fact that any remains could be a potential treat for the vermin. Close all the vents (the exhaust pipe, air intake) since they look like the perfect place for nesting. You can use steel wool for the purpose. Some mothballs are also recommendable on the perimeter—it should repel mice. For those of you who are already “familiar” with rodents, set some traps around your vehicle, and ask someone to check up on your garage from time to time—there might be something to throw away.
Indeed, unless you already care for your car this much, it can get pretty annoying and tiresome to get all these things done when you aren’t even going to use it for quite a while. What’s the point? Despite this feeling, don’t fall into the trap of neglecting your beloved four-wheeler. The damage of not tending to it properly can be much bigger than you expect, so do what needs to be done, and you’ll be glad to come back from holiday and find your car in the perfect condition—spotlessly clean, and with a full tank.