I have a 95 Jeep Grand Cherokee and it is a great car, it uses a lot of gas. So I got a Smart Car to drive around town. Its also a great car. Now I have two cars, and the Jeep is parked most of the time. How often should I drive the Jeep to keep it in good shape?
About once a week would be just fine. Get the engine temp up to normal operating temperature and keep the tires round.
Maybe you should sell the Jeep, save the expense of keeping it, put the money in the bank and save the cost of ownership such as insurance. As for how often to drive it, I would suggest a battery tender, to keep the battery charged and then drive it about once ever three months, for at least 30 minutes to get if fully warm. Keep it stored where it will be safe and remember if you remove the battery, keeping it on that batter tender to keep it charged, it will make it that much more difficult for someone to try and steal it.
To keep it as an at-the-ready car, every two weeks or so should be good. Be sure you drive it long enough to get it fully warmed up and preferably go for a longish drive on the highway. Be sure to keep up with the time-based maintenance requirements, such as doing an oil change every 6 months. Keeping the gas tank full is also a good idea.
If you’re going to use the thing really infrequently, you might consider semi-mothballing it by removing the battery and putting it on a trickle-charger and possibly putting the car on jackstands to keep the weight off the tires. Realistically, though, if you use this thing that infrequently, you’re probably better off selling it and renting when you need an SUV.
I have a similar situation. I ride a motorcycle and leave my Civic at home to save gas. I drive the Civic at least once a week whether I want to or not. This means that I put enough miles on the Civic that I am changing the oil because of mileage, not time. If you put few enough miles on the Jeep that you end up changing the oil on a time basis rather than a mileage basis, you end up spending more money on the Jeep per mile.
If your commute is less than 20 miles, I would drive the Jeep once a week. If it is more than 20 miles, I would drive the Jeep once every two weeks.
A good drive every few weeks will do it. Once a wekk would be ideal. And put some fuel stabilizer in the gas tank.
The idea is to keep everything that needs to stay wet wet and eveything that needs to stay loose from rusting up. Bearing surfaces, cylinder walls, elastomeric seals and gaskets, gear teeth, all these things need to keep a surface coating to prevent deterioration. Brake parts, articulated steering parts, this stuff needs to move and articulate now and then.
And if it sits for a long time fluids can stratify. The heavier components (like the metallic particulates suspended in the oil) can drop to the bottom and form an awful gunk.
As the posters say, once a week is enough, as long as you get it well warmed up before parking it. I go on trips lasting a week or more, and don’t even ask my family to drive the car while I’m away.
Personally, I think once a month is adequate if you use it long enough to get it fully warmed up, say a 10 mile drive.
I have a small pickup that gets used about once a month, sometimes it might sit 5 or 6 weeks without being started. It’s still doing fine. I may never get 300,000 miles on it because I don’t drive it enough, but it does have 138,000 on it and it’s going strong.
Speaking of insurance, aquatic, did you make the Jeep a part-time car and the fortwo your commuter? You will save a lot on insurance if you tell them you will drive the Jeep 5000 or fewer miles per year. If you drive it about 50 miles per week, that’s about 2500 miles each year.