Newer vehicles can have a dead battery in as little as a week if not used
[Note: AAA is offering free emergency road service to healthcare workers and first responders fighting COVID-19 in Washington & north Idaho. No AAA membership required. Call 800-AAA-HELP 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.]
BELLEVUE, Wash. — If you’re not using your vehicle very often, or at all, during the stay-at-home order, you might be surprised with a dead battery or worse when you go to use it again. Most newer vehicles have a small continuous draw on the battery to keep things such as computers and clocks powered when the car is off. Depending on the electronic complexity of your vehicle, this could take as little as a week to drain the battery.
To prevent a dead battery, start your vehicle outdoors and let it run for about 10 minutes at least once a week. Be sure to stay with your vehicle for safety. If you do have a dead battery, you’ll need a jump. Battery Service is part of AAA’s membership. We will come out and give you a jump or sell you a new battery on the spot. Plus, we also have battery tenders you can purchase to keep your battery charged when not being used. Not a member? You can sign up on the spot to receive service.
The likelihood of issues happening decreases by taking certain precautions before parking your vehicle for extended periods:
Steps to take before sidelining a vehicle for 5-45 days:
- If your car is due for an oil change, have the work done to remove any acids and contaminants.
- Add a fuel stabilizer and preservative such as STA-BIL® to your gas tank; then drive for five to ten miles to ensure the stabilized fuel circulates through the system.
- Fill the gas tank to help minimize condensation.
- Add an additional 10 psi of pressure to each tire to help prevent flat spots from forming on the tires. This occurs when the area of the tire touching the ground becomes rigid from sitting in one position for an extended period. You can also move the vehicle periodically.
- Prop up the wiper arms, keeping the blades from sticking to the windshield glass.
- Do not use the parking brake when storing the vehicle. With an automatic transmission, simply put the vehicle in park. If the car has a manual transmission, place it in first or reverse gear, and use wheel chocks to help hold the vehicle in place.
Protecting your car during a 45-day or longer hiatus:
- If possible, use a Battery Tender or other maintenance-type battery charger to keep the battery at a full state of charge and prevent deterioration.
- Vehicles that sit outside for long periods can be a haven for furry creatures who like to build nests. When you start your car for its weekly 10-minute run, check under the hood for critters.
- Keep your vehicle insured. This protects against claims due to unforeseen circumstances and can prevent increases in premiums caused by a lapse in coverage.
Additional information provided at hhttps://blog.wa.aaa.com/travel/travel-tips/keeping-your-parked-car-ready-to-roll/.