BDR Automotive

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1605 Washington St

MON – FRI: 8 AM – 5 PM
Closed for Lunch 12-1 pm

6 car issues common with inactivity
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BDR Automotive

Six Car Issues Common With Inactivity

Here in Holliston, many of us are under a stay-at-home order. While you're not driving regularly, you don’t want to forget that your vehicles need a health and wellness check as much as you do.

While you’re not driving regularly, you don’t want to forget that your vehicles need a health and wellness check just as much as you do. When you do that, you might find that things aren’t exactly as you left them. Here are some things we’ve seen at the shop already that you should keep an eye out for:

1. Keep Critters Out

Keeping your interior clean can make it less attractive to critters like field mice (bad) and squirrels (worse). We’ve seen small animals even get inside vehicles that are used on a daily basis, and they wreak havoc when they do, chewing wiring harnesses to the point that the car won’t run.


Squirrels can get under the hood and make a mess with leaves, stuffing them in every available nook and cranny. That’s particularly an issue when the vehicle is left outside, but it can even happen indoors.

You’d also be shocked at how many photos we’ve seen featuring rodents that find their way into dog food stored in the garage, and then stuffed in the airbox that houses the air filter.

Hagerty has some great tips on keeping animals from taking up residence.

2. Service Engine Lights

If your car has sat for several weeks, you may find that it suddenly has a Check Engine Light illuminated. There are all kinds of sensors and solenoids that are part of the evaporative emissions system that can fail due to inactivity.

At best, a Check Engine Light will prevent you from getting a sticker during your annual inspection, and at worst cause more significant operating issues. If a Check Engine Light shows up, be sure to give us a call as soon as you can.

Good Check Engine Light advice from our friends at Car Talk.

3. Battery Issues

There are a lot of modern conveniences in your car that draw power, even when the key is off. Keyless entry, memory seats, the radio memory functions, the security system and many other features draw tiny amounts of power even when your vehicle isn’t running. A vehicle like yours may draw up to 60 milliamps (mA) under completely normal operation.

60mA multiplied by 24 hours equals 1.4 amps per day. 

In 30 days of no use at all, with a 1.4 amp per day draw, you’d use up 43.2 amps worth of your battery’s starting capacity. If your battery has its full 52 amp capacity, you can see where there’s not a lot of room for error. Over several years of fluctuating temperatures and normal operation, your battery doesn’t have the starting capacity that it left the factory with.

If you have any starting issues, give us a call and we can usually get the car running with a jump and replace the battery if need be.

4. Tires

We’ve had a call for a tire that went flat or excessively low overnight almost every day for the last week.

Sometimes it’s a minor puncture that we can repair, or a bad valve stem that can be replaced. Give us a call and we’ll sort it out for you.

5. Fuel Storage

We just cleaned some nasty crud out of the main and pilot jets, thanks to fuel left in the tank for an long period. Fuel can go bad pretty quickly these days, especially as we get into the warmer months.

We can take care of any fuel system issues you may have, like the gallon of water we drained out of one customer’s tank this week:

 

If your vehicle has been sitting for a three weeks now, and it looks like it may continue sitting for several weeks to come, an investment in a bottle of STA-BIL fuel stabilizer will help the fuel from losing its punch in the tank. 

6. Parking Brake

The parking brake is operated by a cable that clamps the rear brake pads or shoes to the rotor or brake drum. If you’re leaving the vehicle for an extended period of time, the parking brake can cause the brake pads to adhere to the rotor or drum surface. If you drive a vehicle with an automatic transmission and park on a level surface, the parking brake isn’t mandatory to use, so you’re better off leaving it disengaged when parked.

On a vehicle with a manual transmission, you should use the parking brake, even when the vehicle is left in gear. If you’re going to drive the vehicle periodically, you’ll disengage the parking brake anyway, but if you’re not, go out and disengage it when you start the car, making sure that you don’t walk away from the vehicle at all while it’s running.

If any of these issues sound familiar, don’t hesitate to contact the shop at 508-429-4720, or text us at 508-928-9065.

Craig Fitzgerald

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