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Advice on maintaining car I can't drive

I’m looking for advice on what to do about my car (2020 Honda Accord), which I haven’t been able to drive due to an injury. It’s been sitting in my carport for about a month now, and I probably won’t be able to drive it myself for at least another month.

It’s my understanding that leaving a car like this can cause some damage, including draining the battery and potentially causing flat spots on the tires. I’m really concerned about what damage has already been done, and what more might be done by leaving it sit even longer. I bought it new about a year ago (December 2019) and haven’t been able to drive it much in that time (less than 3000 miles on it).

What would you recommend I do at this point? Would it be best to try to turn it on and drive it briefly?
What if I just leave it sitting for another month?

I might be able to enlist a friend to help me out with this in the next week, at least to get it going and possibly drive it once a week. I can also call AAA if I need to get the battery charged and tires inflated, but I probably won’t be able to get any further maintenance done until I’m able to drive it myself (hopefully mid- to late November).

Personally I would let it go until you are ready to drive again. If you need a jump so be it but how many cars spend a couple of months sitting on a car lot (sure I can rationalize anything). Take care of yourself first! Left my car for 2 months and all was fine.

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It would be nice if you could get a battery maintainer but just leave it be. You could always start it up and let it run for a while but don’t think it is necessary. My neighbor’s year old truck has been sitting in his driveway since March when he high tailed it to the cabin to wait the virus out. His son has used it a couples times but otherwise it has just sat there with no problems. Lots of cars are going unused now.

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I fully agree, especially since it’s only on the order of two months.

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This is a “two year” problem for a car, not a 2 month problem. They sit longer than that on dealer lots.

Stop worrying about it. The car will be fine. It might need a jump to start but if you start it and let it idle for 20 minutes a week or so that will help keep the battery up.

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Are there rodents in your area? Letting a car sit for a long time might attract rodents that like to chew on wire insulation. You might use a repellent around the car to repel them. You know your area best and can determine whether you need it or not. If your neighbors haven’t experienced problems, you might be OK.

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I will give a different opinion. While a car sits on the dealer lot for months, the dealer has absolutely no stake in the long term condition of the car. You have a big stake. I see no harm in asking a friend to come take the car for a drive, for 10-20 miles as long as it isn’t a teenage nut. Do this now and repeat in two weeks, and that should all be that is needed. (Other people may have more experience than I do about vermin.)

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Thank you! I’ve been worrying a bit about it, but obviously it hasn’t been the most pressing thing on my mind :slight_smile:

It sounds like I may need to get it jump-started and checking the air in the tires, but what other kind of issues should I look for when I am able to drive again? Are “flat spots” a definite thing to be concerned about?

I will probably take it in for a tune-up when I’m able to drive, so hopefully I can get it looked over at that time.

Totally agree that I have more personal stake, but to be honest, it may be a little challenging to get help from a friend right now. This friend has been helping me out with rides to medical appointments, so I’m trying not to ask for too much else for now. And it sounds like I might need to get it jump-started and tires inflated a bit, so that adds to it as well.

What’s the worst case if I do leave it for a further month?

You won’t need a tune up for 60-90,000 miles. The 60’s are gone.

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I’m not sure, though I did have a mouse in my apartment a few months ago, possibly a result of nearby restaurants doing less business due to the pandemic.

The car is parked in a large parking lot with many other tenants’ cars, under a wooden awning (not in an enclosed garage). We’ve also been having 90-degree weather recently, so would they be likely to go in a car when it’s not cold out and when the car hasn’t been run recently?

I’m due for an oil change at least, since it’s been almost a year since I bought the car. I thought perhaps they could take a look and see if there’s any other damage from letting it sit though?

That is a outdated term , Vehicles really don’t get tuned up like they did years ago. I doubt if you will get flat spots but if you are able to start the vehicle yourself and just move it enough to turn the tires a little once in a while you will be fine .

We bought an holdover new vehicle that the dealer had on the lot for 7 months . They had to jump it for us to test drive. That battery lasted 5 years and the tires were fine also . You are worrying too much.

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Good to know. I mostly just wanted to get the oil changed and fluid levels and tires checked, but the car is pretty new, so hopefully there won’t be many issues.

I’ve already had to let it sit for for a little bit this year, and so far it’s been ok. Not ideal, but this year hasn’t been a normal one either.

You are worrying too much.

Very true, and perhaps an understatement! :slight_smile: I definitely tend to worry, and being mostly cooped up at home and unable to drive has made it so much worse. I will try to focus on some other things and deal with this when I’m healed and able to drive again.

Thank you!

+1
But, don’t put it past an unscrupulous mechanic to claim that it needs one.

A woman whom I used to know was the recipient of her father’s '80s-vintage Buick, and because she lives in Manhattan, she put less than 2k miles per year on the odometer. Her mechanic convinced her that she needed to replace the spark plugs, the air filter, and God-only-knows what else every 12 months. Despite my telling her that anything beyond an oil change was a bizarre “oversell”, she continued to patronize that thief’s establishment.

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It will be far better for the battery to use a maintainer or periodic charging rather than letting it run down, then get a jump.

My experience with rodents:

https://community.cartalk.com/t/hold-it-rat-there/164446/45

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If you are worried, then:

  1. Sprinkle some cayenne pepper around the engine compartment.
  2. Spread a few clothes dryer freshener sheets in the car and trunk.
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While my advice was to get a friend to drive it, it doesn’t mean I want you to worry if you are not able to do it. My suggestion was really just to have a slight improvement. You have identified what I would call the immediate worst case: low battery and flat-spotting nice new tires. If you decide to move the car a couple feet, be sure to let it idle for 15 minutes to boost the battery. And I agree with the others that you might not either a jump start or have a tire problem.
If you are in a smaller city, think about whether your car salesman will help out by coming over and going for a spin. You gave him a good commission. And if not, believe us when we say you are over-worrying the car situation. Most likely, it will be fine after two months.

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Yeah just go out there and start it for a minute or 2 every other week, and maybe roll it back or forward a foot or too. Job done; no big deal.

That would be an excellent way to kill the battery. After starting the engine, it should be run for a minimum of 15 minutes to recharge the battery. Twenty minutes would be better.

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