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What Happens to Your Car When It Sits?

Your car is a well-oiled machine. At least that’s what it should be. That’s because when the car is maintained and run regularly, its systems remain in good running order. When it sits idle for long periods of time, however, bad things can happen. Let’s look at what occurs to your car when it sits.

Battery

A car battery recharges when you drive. When your car is not used, the battery drains energy. Especially if the weather is cold; batteries cannot recover as easily in colder temperatures. When you go to start your car, you will notice that nothing happens. The battery is “dead.”

Your car’s electrical functions, like its computer, can also act to drain the battery, as can faulty wires or electrical connections.

Gaskets and Seals

Gaskets and seals are made of rubber and when they are not regularly lubricated or used, they become dry and brittle. This can cause cracks, tears, or decomposition to occur, leading to leaks and potentially the loss of important fluids. Even if damage to the gaskets and seals is not obviously visible, they can fail and often create problems once the car engine is started.

Tires

What happens to your car when it sits is that the weight of the car on tires that remain in a stagnant position for an extended period of time will cause them to flatten against the ground. Once a tire gets a flat spot, it is useless and must be discarded. A tire with a flat spot cannot be revived.

Like gaskets and seals, tires are also made of rubber, and if not used, will become dry and brittle. Cracks and air holes will appear. You should not trust your driving safety to tires on a car that sits idle for an extended time.

Gasoline

Your car’s gas tank is not airtight, and when gasoline mixes with air, it can destabilize over a period of time. Once it degrades, it can either damage your engine, or not enable you to start the car.

Related: How Long Can Your Car Sit Without Driving It?

Fuel & Brake Lines

Internal components such as your fuel and brake lines can corrode over time when your car sits. This leaves them highly susceptible to leaks or breakage once your drive your car again.

Rust

What happens to your car when it sits is an atomic reaction called oxidation that occurs between the oxygen in the air and the iron in your vehicle. In other words—rust. When a car is in regular use, the air moves around it and rust is less likely to occur.

Mold

Moisture inside your car can quickly create mold problems on your leather interior or other areas of your vehicle. In addition to damage the mold or mildew can cause, your car will have an unpleasant odor when you return.

Rodents & Insects

An idle car can look like a great new home to mice, bugs and other creatures, and you surely don’t want them to set up housekeeping in your vehicle while you’re away.

How CarWatch Protects Your Car When It Sits

Golden Rule Home Watch offers a service called CarWatch Auto Concierge that tends to your vehicle(s) when you are away for an extended period of time. We come to your home to provide regular car support services, as well as any concierge services you request, to include:

  • Adding fuel stabilizer to the gas tank
  • Testing the battery and charging system and connecting a “smart” battery tender to ensure its charge remains at optimal level
  • Inspecting tires
  • Checking and filling fluids per manufacturer recommendations
  • Starting and running the car on a pre-set schedule to run the engine, air conditioning/heat and fan
  • Inspecting for indications of pests or rodents
  • Placing desiccant packets inside the car to control moisture and help prevent mold or mildew

After each visit, we provide you with a detailed checklist of items we reviewed, and a report of any findings or recommendations. If there is a problem, you can have us take care of it for you.

Other CarWatch concierge services can include*:

  • Cleaning and detailing your car, inside and out to remove dirt and grime
  • Taking your car into a garage or dealership for regular maintenance or service
  • Moving the car so that the tires do not sit in one spot for an extended period of time
  • Customized services, at your request

* Detailing, services etc. costs not included

To find out more about CarWatch or our Home Watch services, visit our Services pages. Then contact Golden Rule Home Watch and CarWatch for a free initial consultation.

As a bonus, our owner is a car enthusiast and specializes in watching over your luxury vehicles like your Ferrari, Porsche, Maserati or Lamborghini, as well as any car throughout Northern Virginia!

Golden Rule Home Watch is bonded, insured and background checked for your security.

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