Advice on maintaining car I can't drive

I have a 2017 Accord EX-L and I have routinely gone at least two weeks without starting the car since February without losing the battery.

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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.

Would idling it in park for 15-20 minutes recharge it, or does it need to be driven to do this?

That said, I may not be able to do any of this for now, due to mobility issues.

Thanks. I’ve left it for about as long before, but this time it’s been just over 5 weeks since I last drove it.
I haven’t been able to go out and see if it will start due to my injury, but it’ll probably be another 4 weeks before I am ok to drive it again.

Letting it idle for 15-20 minutes would recharge the battery, even if you didn’t drive it.

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I went through this with my seldom driven Olds (last count was 7 miles for the year). I would start it up and let it run for 15-20 minutes but also it is a good idea to shift it through the gears to circulate the trans fluid. I also would put a charger on it from time to time. But yeah starting takes battery power that takes more than a couple minutes to replenish again.


Modern tires don’t “flat spot” like old tires. 5 minutes of driving fixes any distortion that occurs from extended immobility. 2 months is NOT extended.
Most engine wear occurs on startup and the first 5-10 mins of driving.
Don’t sweat it. Neither your engine nor transmission will have ANY issues whatsoever sitting for even 6 months.
If it’s in a garage (or if it’s in an area you’re not concerned about the alarm being off) disconnect the neg terminal of the battery. About the only thing worthwhile doing maintenance-wise is to top up the fuel tank.

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Small update: I went for a brief walk earlier this week and stopped by my car to take a look, and it turned on without any issue. I let it run for about 20 minutes before turning it off again. I did hit the gas a few times (mostly to test my ankle), but can’t drive it yet, so just let it sit. I didn’t notice any issues while it was running. Only the coating of dust on the exterior.

The tires need a little bit of air, so I will try to top them up those in the next week or two. Hopefully I’ll be able to actually drive it in a few more weeks, but it felt really good to just sit in it for a bit. Still has some of that new car smell :slight_smile:

Thanks to everyone for your advice!


you said your friend is taking you to medical appointments- would your friend be able to take you in your car every so often?


Going almost a year is about the time some problems might start to become noticeable, but I wouldn’t worry too much. Gasoline eventually goes sour from air and moisture exposure and becomes corrosive, faster when the tank is low - if yours smells “off”, have it towed to where it can be drained and refilled before putting it back on the road. Adding stabilizer and topping off the tank when anticipating a period of little use can buy a year or so. Either disconnecting the battery (negative terminal) or keeping it charged is wise as the plates deteriorate at lower charge levels, but still sufficient to crank the engine - all modern cars have a certain amount of “parasitic” battery drain that can discharge a car in anywhere from a few weeks to a number of months - check with a voltmeter if you have one. Non-circulating engine coolant corrosion inhibitors become locally depleted leading to crevice corrosion, etc. which can really chew up aluminum components - the coolant should be raised to operating temperature for a period time every so often - every two weeks ought to be sufficient and may be conservative. This also will heat and circulate the engine oil and allow sufficient time for contamination associated with cold starts to vaporize off. Running every week or two or even monthly also keeps engine and air conditioning compressor seals (with AC on) lubricated and unstuck. The car should be rolled a bit every few months to keep the un-submerged portions of gears and bearings coated, preventing corrosion - 30 to 50 ft. should be sufficient for this, but even better if someone can drive it. Pump the brakes every so often to keep sliding surfaces coated to inhibit cylinder corrosion. Tire rubber is compounded with oxidation and aging inhibitors that depend on flexing to remain effective - a year might be okay, especially if protected from sun, but better for them if the car is driven periodically. Keep their pressure up.

Another responder suggested having your assistant drive your car when taking you to appointments - seems like good advice. Top of the tank on the way home.

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