Over the past year or so, almost every driver in the UK has had to deal the issue of a long-parked car at some point, so chances are that you might already have some first-hand experience of what happens when a car is left parked for months at a time.
It’s worrying enough when you’ve got a brand new car, but if your car has got a good number of miles on the odometer, or it’s a used, seized or salvage car from one of our very own online car auctions, you might be understandably concerned about what might end up deteriorating given enough time - and how unsafe or unwieldy it might make your car in the meantime! So bear with us as we clue you in to some of the most crucial things you’ll want to glance at before you hop back in the driver’s seat.
Ensure that your battery isn’t dead
This is by far one of the most common issues that can develop with a long-stationary car, as you’ll know if you were one of the tens of thousands of drivers who discovered this very same problem after the end of the first lockdown. Your battery does expend energy keeping your car moving, but its charge is topped up by your car’s alternator when the vehicle is in motion. But if the vehicle isn’t started, the alternator doesn’t have a chance to do its job, and your battery slowly leaks charge as a result.
Now, how fast this happens is dependent on a number of factors, including the age of the battery, how the car has been used, and the temperature outside. Some batteries can lose their charge in a matter of weeks, for others it will take months.
Happily, there’s one handy way you can avoid it, and that’s just to give your car a chance to spin its wheels every now and again. A fifteen minute drive once a week is generally recommended, as a bare minimum. Alternatively, you can connect it to a mains-powered battery container for the same length of time, and charge it up that way. This recharges the battery, and as a bonus it can stop petrol engines from flooding with fuel. But obviously, don’t leave your vehicle attended while you do so!
Check your tyres are inflated properly
Tyres won’t deflate all that quickly under normal driving conditions, but if they’re supporting the full weight of the car in one spot for months on end, they can develop flat spots. That might well end up in a very bumpy and uneven ride - not only uncomfortable, but possibly dangerous if it stops you from maintaining full control over the car. Don’t take the risk - make sure that your tyres are all fully inflated to the right tread depth before you take it out on the roads.
Test the brakes to make sure they’re working
We don’t need to tell you how important this one is. Brakes that haven’t been used in a while can end up developing some serious rust and corrosion, especially if you’ve been driving for a little while in wet conditions and then left your car parked for a considerable length of time.
A similar issue can develop with the parking brake. Occasionally, when a car is parked up for months with the parking brake left on, it can end up seizing. If you’re planning on taking the car out for small 15 minute outings every so often as we’ve mentioned above, then you shouldn’t have to worry about this problem. If not though, it’s worth moving the parking brake off slightly and moving the vehicle back and forth with the engine running - all of which should effectively prevent the car from seizing.
You may also find other, smaller issues can develop with your car, depending on the make and model, its overall condition and how it’s been driven. Happily, none should be hugely troublesome or expensive to fix - just make sure that you’ve got the big ones sorted before you go out on the roads!
Of course, sometimes you might find that even smaller problems end up just being too much for your used or salvage car, or the fixes (such as a replacement battery) might even end up being more than the entire car is worth. But if you’re looking for a replacement, you’re in exactly the right place. Here at RAW2K we’ve got a huge range of seized and salvage cars to choose from, with makes and models from a range of manufacturers including Peugeot, Volkswagen and Ford. Why not take a look around our site, and see what you can find?