Will my Car Need Auto Repair if it Sits Too Long?

If you do not drive your car regularly enough, or if you end up leaving it out without running it for a very long time, you will find that, when you are ready to use it again, You'll be looking for a Sacramento auto repair shop to fix a whole host of problems with the vehicle that were not there before you stopped using it. Cars need to be used on a regular basis; otherwise their parts begin to prematurely age and everything from the fuel to the oil inside them begins to deteriorate as well.

There are several things that happen to your car's structure and chemistry when you let it sit for too long. Such things include gaskets and seals becoming brittle, flat and brittle tires, drained battery, gummed up fuel, rust, and engine oil deteriorating.

What's the Minimum I Should Drive My Car?

We’ve heard many people say they let their cars sit for months in a garage with no problems, but you’re better off driving it a couple of times each month and for at least 10 miles, with some speeds over 50 mph if possible. You not only want your engine to get fully warmed up but for the entire car to get some exercise as well.

Letting a car idle for 10 minutes will get the engine up to normal operating temperature but accomplish little else. Driving the car for several miles wakes up the transmission, brakes, suspension, power steering, climate system (including the air conditioner) and all the fluids, seals and gaskets for those components that have been on a long snooze.

How long can gasoline be kept in a car?

Depends what kind of gas you have.

If you have ethanol in your gas, I would not suggest keeping that fuel around for more than 3 months maximum (ethanol fuel starts to go “bad” in 30 days, without adding fresh gas to it. Ethanol attracts water and goes to gunk relatively quickly. Both water and ethanol are corrosive to parts in your fuel system.

If you have “real” gasoline without ethanol, you can probably go up to 6 months.

If you are not going to drive for more than a month in either case, I would add a fuel stabilizer.

There are fuel stabilizers out there that you can add to your gasoline if you are planning on letting your car sit for awhile. In that case, I would add the stabilizer per the instructions on the bottle and fill the tank to the top, then run the car long enough to get the stabilized gas through out the fuel system. This minimizes the chance for water to enter the gas and the stabilizer helps keep the gas stable.

STA-BIL is a recognized brand of stabilizer. There are many more on the market as well. They have one for regular fuel and one for ethanol fuel.

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