9936749 – car covered by a blue sheet
Recently, YourMechanic.com found that infrequent car usage nationwide during covid shelter in place has resulted in a number of issues for car owners across the country.
Beware of critters such as rats, mice, and cats alike seek refuge in long-term parked cars and can eat/destroy important soy-based engine parts. They tend to take shelter during cold nights.
You may not see the rodents, but you’ll find evidence: fecal droppings, nests (leaves and twigs), and chewed up wires under the hood, especially if your car has been parked for over a week without driving. Be sure to clean out any nests, and make lots of noise to scare the critters away so you don’t end up accidentally barbecuing them when you turn on the engine.
You can spray your vehicle with rat repellent and install high frequency noise devices to prevent rodents from squatting in the future. You may also want to consider having a professional mechanic look under the hood and ensure that rats haven’t chewed through your wiring or left behind droppings in the engine.
Dead batteries. Cars that are left un-driven for over a week risk battery drainage, especially if you use an OBD device that pulls charge from your battery even when you’re not moving. Check your battery’s voltage to prevent getting stranded on the road. It’s best to drive your car or run your engine at least twice a week to keep batteries healthy.
If your car battery’s charge is below 12 volts, you need to get it replaced to avoid losing power on the road.
Deflated tires. This is a sneaky one because tires can look full even when your pressure is low. This can cause tires to burst on the road or decrease performance. Long periods of parking can cause bald spots and deflate tires. Check your tire pressure and fill your tires before getting back on the road.
Corroded fuel tank. A lack of driving will allow moisture and condensation to gather in fuel tanks and gradually corrode them. The best solution is prevention by driving or running your vehicle at least once a week, but if that ship has sailed then start with a visual inspection around the fuel tank, and look for symptoms of fuel tank compromise, such as sputtering sounds when you start your car.
Dirty engine oil sludge. Most drivers wait for their mileage to queue them to change their oil. But if your vehicle has been parked idle for weeks or months, then make sure to run your engine for at least a minute before driving again and have a professional check to see if your oil is up to pare. Dirty oil can lead to far more expensive damage, as oil lubricates critical engine parts and prevents friction between metal parts.
Consider changing your oil before setting out on any long road trips.