How Often Should I Drive My Car?

If your vehicle hasn’t been driven in a while, it can be beneficial to let it get out and stretch its legs. While there are people that store their vehicles for long periods of time without issue, it is a good practice for vehicle longevity to not let it sit for too long. Our mechanics in Arlington would recommend for everyone to drive their cars at least every two weeks. What if you’re not currently able to leave your house due to health reasons? The Team at Auto Stop has you covered!

For our local residents who fall into the high risk category for COVID-19, we are offering a free service to come and start your vehicle, drive it for 20 minutes, then bring it back to the shop and set the the correct tire pressures, put your battery on our battery charger, and perform a complete sanitizing procedure prior to returning the vehicle. Click here to see all of our disinfecting procedures in action!

We are offering this service to ensure that no one is left stranded when they do have to finally venture out for a doctor's appointment or to fill a prescription. A car sitting for a period of time will eventually have a depleted battery. Starting the car up without a long drive can further discharge an already weak battery, and if an interior light is accidentally left on while at the grocery store, it may not have enough juice to get the car started again.

Other reasons we recommend getting the vehicle out for a drive would be to protect components from premature aging. Tires that sit for too long can develop flat spots along their outer edges. Idling a car in the driveway will warm up the engine, but does nothing for getting the transmission fluid or gear oils in the drivetrain up to temperature. Furthermore, a spirited drive will allow bushings in the suspension to warm up and prevent dry cracking, while the seals in the dampeners are lubricated and prevent leaking. Moisture is also known to build-up in your fuel tank, as well as the engine crankcase, and becomes corrosive when left untreated - bringing these systems up to operating temperature will allow any condensation to safely evaporate.

Long story short, driving several miles will help wake up all those components that have been snoozing since early March - brakes, air conditioning system, power steering, transmission, shock absorbers, etc. By offering this service, we are hoping to prevent a situation of a high risk customer traveling with a weak battery or underinflated tires that could leave them stranded in a parking lot or on the side of the road. Both of these scenarios would require help from a passer-byer or a tow truck driver, which would not be ideal for someone who is trying to limit contact.

If anyone thinks they might benefit from this service, please don’t hesitate to call our shop in Arlington VA at 703-931-4575, or also our shop in Falls Church at 703-347-7821.

Written by John Alligood