As a car owner about to leave your car for long-term parking, the anxiety you’re feeling is completely normal. But if you’re taking that flight, you’ll have no choice but leave your vehicle for an extended period.
That lingering idea of something bad happening to your car might keep you from staying focused on your business trip or enjoying your holiday. To ease your anxiety, we’ve curated some easy-to-do car parking tips when you need to leave your car for longer than usual.
What Happens if a Car is Parked for a Long Time?
• Tire Pressure Decreases
While your car tires normally decrease in pressure over time, the process is faster when it hasn’t been moved for a long time. The reason for this is because the weight is kept on the same spot day after day. You might notice this when you drive and feel intermittent bumps on a normally smooth road. These flat spots can occur between weeks to months of non-use, depending on the tire quality and age.
• Brakes Can Corrode
Brake drums and pads tend to corrode and “stick” when left unused for an extended period. If you’re using your car for the first time after a while, it’s best to have your brakes inspected by a qualified mechanic first.
• Battery Runs Out
Car batteries get recharged via the alternator whenever you’re driving. And this is the reason why they can last for several years before finally needing a replacement. If left idle for an extended period, the battery will eventually run out of power. Depending on the condition of the battery, this process may take anywhere from two weeks or less.
• Dirt Builds Up
When you’re not using your car—and not cleaning it too—an unhealthy amount of dirt and grime will build up on its finish. Especially when you’re parked outdoors, gunk can fill up the crevices on your car: that small space between the trunk can the rear windshield, the base of the wiper arms, and the space around the hood’s perimeter. The interior can also develop moulds when the humidity is just right.
• Fluids Become Stagnant
While running, the fluids in your car are circulating around various mechanical parts. But when left to sit, these fluids become thick and might not work as efficiently. Coagulated car fluids can result in accidents and mechanical damage.
What Should I do if I Leave my Car for a Long Time?
• Choose a Good Spot
If you’re leaving your car to take a flight, long-term airport parking or a nearby secure car park will be your best option. Leaving your vehicle unattended on the street poses the risk of vandalism, excessive dirt, or being towed.
Check on the weather reports for impending precipitation or extended daylight. Your car’s paint is not necessarily friends with the elements, and you might feel more secure leaving it under covered parking.
• Disconnect the Battery
This is to be on the safe side. Especially if you’re someone who tends to leave headlights or cabin lights on. This will mitigate the risk of going back to a completely drained battery. Doing so might require reconfiguring your radio presets and clock, but it’s better than a car not starting. An important thing to be mindful of, though, is that the two terminals should never touch. You can use zip ties to secure them away from each other.
• Rid your Car of Valuables
Not stating the obvious big-ticket items, but everything can be fair game for smash-and-grabbers. Loose change and bills can attract thieves as easily as articles of clothing like jackets and hats. Also, don’t leave blankets on your seats because some people might think you’re hiding something worthwhile.
• Clean your Vehicle’s Interior
Empty food wrappers can attract bugs of all sorts, and they might even lay eggs inside your car. It’s also a good idea to check your car for mould that’s starting to build up. A small spot can grow into size by the time you get back.
• Check your Tire Pressure
Make sure that your tire pressures are within normal range. Leaving them on the low end can lead to flat spots by the time you get back from your trip.
• Quick Washdown
Give your car a little rinse before leaving it for an extended period. This will ensure that the dirt and grime don’t eat into the paint. Or better yet, find a car park that offers car cleaning and detailing services. After a long flight, coming back to a gleaming vehicle can take the load off from your trip.
• Short-Term and Long-Term Parking
Alpha Airport Parking will have all your parking needs covered. Our secure parking comes in several options, depending on your preferences. We’ll also throw in a complimentary shuttle service to the airport, so you never miss your flight.