It’s warming up again, which means it’s time to break out your car for a nice long drive. For some of us, that means taking your car out of storage. Here at VIP European Auto, we care about your car’s health, inside and out. That’s why we wanted to share some tips with you today about how to take your car out of storage the right way. Enjoy your spring and summer drives!
Always Check Under the Hood
Your battery should be the first place you look under the hood. It’s common practice to hook your car up to a battery tender when it’s in storage. They help your battery maintain a proper charge so you don’t have to worry about replacing it every year. Assuming the tender is still working properly and your battery is charged, you should be good to go.
If you’ve used a cheaper trickle charger, then you may want to check out your battery a little more. Trickle chargers can overcharge your battery, which can damage it, especially if you have a standard wet-cell lead-acid battery.
If your vehicle has been sitting for months on end with no charger at all, your battery may be weak or drained. If you know how to yourself, you should replace it. If not, mechanics can get it done pretty quickly.
Before anything, even if you have a nice battery tender, you should always check the charge with an electric tester. If it’s low, you’ll need to get it charged. If it’s dead, and you need it replaced and your onboard computer system may need to be reset.
Outside of the battery, you should check for corrosion and residue on the posts and cable clamps. Make sure there’s no cracks, or signs of wear and tear. Jiggle all of the cables to make sure they’re still secure as well.
Check for Nests and Check the Filters
While you’re poking around under the hood, look for any vermin nests or chewed cables and belts. The last thing you want to do is drive with a mouse nest under the hood.
Finally, check your air and fuel filter, spark plugs, oil levels, cylinders, and PCV. Everything should look clean and in good condition. A mechanic can do all of this for you too, if you don’t know how.
Take a Good Look at Your Tires
Once you’re done under the hood, give your car a good walk around and pay close attention to the tires. You should be able to see if a tire is low or not, but it’s always a good idea to check the pressure anyway.
If it’s low, top it off with a home air compressor, or get to a tire store or filling station.
Also look at your tread wear and inspect all tires for cracks and bulges. Be sure to look on the sidewalls facing the axles as well as the street side. You may need a flashlight.
While you’re looking at the wheels, check under the car for any sign of fluid leaks. Even if you don’t see any, you’ll want to have the transmission, power steering, and brake fluids checked.
You should also schedule an oil change sooner rather than later. Old oil may be contaminated by condensation, which is horrible for your car’s engine.
If you neglected to add fuel stabilizer to your gas tank before storage, fill up with high-octane gas and add some octane booster.
Brakes & Suspension
When you’re ready to start up, first make sure your tailpipe is clear. Turn on your car and let it idle for a few minutes to burn out anything old. It may smell for a little bit, but that’s normal. If the smell lasts after a solid 10 minutes of running, there may be something wrong.
Once the engine has warmed up, tap on the brakes a few times (while the car is in park). If everything feels normal, take your car for a little spin around the parking lot. Pay attention for anything that feels or sounds off, like delays, grinding, or squealing. Watch the dashboard too in case any warning lights pop up.
It is completely normal for your brakes to squeal or make funny noises for a little while, especially if you haven’t driven your car in months. This should go away on it’s own. It’s caused by rust that should be worn off when you use your brakes more.
If the sound lingers, take your car into a shop.
Be sure to have shocks checked as well. If you notice any interior work that needs to be done, give us a call! We’ll be happy to help.
Then enjoy the summer driving season!