How to maintain your vehicle when you’re not using it
No matter what model your car is, it’s important to look after it when it’s off the road. If you find yourself driving less or popping your car into storage for an extended period of time, follow these tips to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape.
Care for your battery
The car’s battery powers electronic components like your starter motor. While car batteries can last for a decent amount of time, without charging your battery and driving regularly, it can eventually deplete.
To avoid this, run the engine weekly. Consider investing in a battery charger to help ensure the battery is topped up and the alternator functions correctly.
Check your tyre pressure
All drivers should monitor their tyre pressures during different road conditions. Tyre pressure — measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) — can suddenly drop in colder weather, while warmer temps can temporarily increase pressure.
If your car is idle for a long time, you may need to change your tyre pressure from its normal levels. Check the owner’s manual for the recommended tyre pressure, which may be found in the vehicle’s placard — located inside the driver’s door.
Top off fluids
Before you leave your car dormant for a long period of time, check its fluids, such as brake fluid, engine coolant, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid. This can be done in just a few minutes. Also, taking the car for a short drive will help to circulate the fluids, including the fuel stabilizer.
Your vehicle’s manual should tell you how often you should check fluids. You can always speak to your local mechanic for servicing advice.
You may need to change the engine oil as well. Having too much or too little inside may cause some wear and tear to the engine. So, armed with the car’s dipstick and a rag, watch for the minimum and maximum line to gauge the correct amount. If in doubt, check out the owner’s manual for a little more detail.
Get regular servicing
Keeping your car in tip-top shape takes regular servicing. But that doesn’t need be too expensive or complicated! Simply read the car maintenance and servicing beginners guide, which covers the basics.
Your vehicle manufacturer or your mechanic can help you identity the intervals at which you should consider getting your car serviced. You can find this info in your owner’s manual, or if this fails, a general rule of thumb for servicing is every 6 months or 10,000 km — whichever comes first.
Keep your car covered
If you don’t have a garage, consider investing in a quality cover that securely fits your vehicle. This keeps moisture out and protects your car’s exterior from UV rays, rust, and sometimes animals making a home underneath the car. It also reduces the risk of theft and accidental damage from passing vehicles.
Car Insurance can come in handy, even when the car isn’t being used much. AAMI Comprehensive Car Insurance helps pay to repair vehicle damage from things like theft, fire or hail — events that are still possible while your car’s in storage.
Understand the value of car insurance
You may be thinking: “Does it make sense to cancel my car insurance while its in storage?” While that may offer short-term savings, there are also drawbacks. The immediate concern being that your car won’t be protected against accidents. Instead, it can be helpful to review your options for reducing your coverage.
Review your insurance policy
Review your current policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) so you know what’s insured, and where you may need to extend your cover. You can easily log in to update your policy details and access your policy documents, 24/7.
Find the right level of cover to suit your needs
There are different types of car insurance you can choose from. Comprehensive Car Insurance covers damage to your own car as well the cars and property of other people, while Third Party Car Insurance is designed to only cover your liability for damage you cause to other people’s vehicles or property. You should consider your own circumstances and the type of cover you may need.
Compare our Car Insurance options online today!
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Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 AFSL 230859 (AAI) trading as AAMI. Any advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. Please read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before you make any decision regarding this product. The Target Market Determination is also available.