Some people just don’t drive as much as the average person. Many people only use their vehicles less than once a week, especially right now while so many of us are working from home. Whether you have a vehicle that isn’t being driven much due to working from home, carpooling, or you own a second vehicle that is just for special occasions, there are a few extra considerations you need to take regarding your maintenance routine.
The maintenance suggestions given in your owner’s manual are assuming that you drive your car regularly and put around 1000 to 2000 kilometres on it per month. For those drivers that don’t get near these numbers, the suggestions become less useful. For low-mileage drivers, standard mileage milestones won’t be reached in the expected timeframe. Some vehicle components and fluids wear down purely based on use, while others are affected both by use and the passage of time; this is why you need to take special precautions with your maintenance routine.
Here are a few maintenance considerations for low-mileage drivers:
Before storing your vehicle for a long period, here are a few items to take care of. These will help ensure your car is ready to go the next time you are.
- Fill your tires to the recommended air pressure (usually noted on a sticker in the door jamb).
- Connect your battery to a trickle charger.
- Top up your gas tank and other fluids.
- Add a fuel stabilizer to your fuel tank to ensure that fuel stays “fresh”.
- If you are able to, park the vehicle in a ventilated garage. If parked outside, use a high quality and breathable weather-resistant cover.
- Hopefully, you can park it on flat ground – if so, do not use the parking brake.
- Give the exterior and interior a thorough clean.
- If you are leaving it for a very long time, consider using lift stands.
Regardless of how much or how little you drive your vehicle, maintenance is a necessary part of car ownership. Your vehicle will thank you for taking the extra care listed above before storing it for a long time. If you were to simply park your vehicle and forget about it for a while, you could find yourself on the hook for significant maintenance costs when you decide to drive it, not to mention it may not start or be drivable when you decide to take it for a spin.
As a low-mileage driver, add this short routine to your monthly to-do list. Before starting the routine, take a quick look in the engine bay and inspect electrical wires and fuel lines. You need to make sure no rodents or other pests have chewed on them – you’d be surprised at where they may hide and what they find appealing.
Start your vehicle and let it run for a few minutes so the engine can warm up, while listening for any unusual noises. After a few minutes of warm-up, drive the vehicle for at least 10-15 minutes. It takes engine oil at least this long to get up to operating temperature. Drive gently during the warm-up before any spirited performance driving. This test drive will help to make sure that your vehicle’s components have had fresh fluids (oil, transmission, coolant, etc.) run through them, and that everything is still working smoothly.
When it comes down to it, cars are designed to be used – they want to be driven. It’s in the vehicle’s best interest to be taken out now and again, and the last thing a vehicle needs is to sit in a garage for months on end.
Vehicle manufacturers recommend oil service intervals based on expected normal driving (1000 to 2000 kilometres per month), but these guidelines can quickly become irrelevant based on the type of oil you choose, how often you drive, and the conditions that your vehicle experiences.
Those of us that live in more extreme climates need to be aware that the high and low-temperature swings have a tendency to degrade the oil and promote condensation build-up.
To figure out the best strategy for your specific vehicle, driving demands, and climate, it helps to talk to an expert. Our staff’s experience and enthusiasm is unparalleled, and we always look forward to new projects. Start speaking with an expert by clicking here or texting our team directly @ 403.398.9833.
6-Month Maintenance Routine
The bi-annual inspection should happen if your vehicle is hitting the road daily, monthly, or even less. Even if your vehicle is spending most of its time in the garage, it still needs regular maintenance and tune-ups. Fluids are an especially important part of this inspection because some fluids are affected by time, not just by use.
Your technician will inspect everything from your engine to your tires, including the undercarriage, for signs of damage or issues. When servicing your vehicle at Tunerworks, our expert service team will text or email you a link to your comprehensive Service Inspection Report, which is complete with pictures, videos, and easy to understand descriptions of everything they notice. It’s easy to stay on top of your vehicle’s needs when you visit an expert shop that is dedicated to you and your vehicle.
Tunerworks – for All Your Service Needs
The best thing you can do for your vehicle, whether it’s a daily driver or a treat for special occasions, is to find a local automotive shop that you trust and visit them on a regular basis. By doing this, your vehicle will benefit from the decades of collective experience at the shop, and they will get to know you, your vehicle, and your driving demands so you can get exactly what you need from your ride.
The Tunerworks team has been Calgary’s premier automotive service centre since 1976. We’ve stood by every service we’ve performed in the last four decades, and have helped thousands of happy motorists achieve their automotive dreams.