A car is just like a human being. When it doesn’t get any walks or exercise for some time, it becomes weak and sluggish. If you ignore starting your car once in a long while, chances are high that the battery will die. The same is applicable with an electronic device that needs power from the battery to function. It will turn inoperable if the battery dies. Even if you have a backup power source such as a car adapter, it won’t make any difference if you never start the car or recharge the battery. So, here are some basic tips on getting your car started after it has been parked for a while:
1. Confirm that your battery is still good
Even if you’re not planning to use your car for the next month or more, it’s a good idea to test the condition of your battery once in a while. If your car doesn’t have a built-in tester (most modern cars do), you’ll need to take your vehicle to a local shop to have it tested. If you’re able to test your battery yourself, here’s how:
Check the Battery Terminals
A set of jumper cables and a pair of pliers should be your go-to tools for any electrical-related work. They’ll help you check the condition of the terminals on your battery and ensure that they are well-connected. First, make sure that your car is turned off and that all its systems are switched off (the air conditioning, power steering, etc. Start by connecting the positive cable (red) from the good battery to the positive battery terminal on the bad battery.
In most modern cars, you should use a “+” shaped connector. The cable itself is covered with insulation, so don’t let it touch any metal part of your car during this process.
2. Check the condition of the engine oil
According to experts at repairsmith, you will need the vehicle’s dipstick to check the oil levels. However, make sure that the engine is cooled off for at least ten minutes before checking oil levels. If you have trouble locating the dipstick, check the manual for it. The ideal level should be between the two indicator marks on the dipstick. If the levels are low, you should refill it to the recommended levels with the right oil. Apart from checking the oil levels, you should also check the oil’s color and consistency. If the oil is dark, thick, and coarse you will have to change it before you can drive your car again.
3. Check for possible leaks
You should check for any leaks before checking the engine oil levels. This is done by simply looking underneath the car. If you have trouble doing it you might want to hire a professional to do it for you. The common leaks include engine oil leak, transmission leak, power steering leak, and brake system leak. They are indicated by black or light brown, red or brown, clear, red or brown, and yellow or brown respectively. In case of any leaks, do not drive the car before it is repaired.
4. Check the brake fluid
The brake fluid is located in the brake master cylinder, which is mounted on the rear of the engine congruent to the brake pedal. If you have trouble identifying it, the manual will help. Remove the cap of the reservoir and inspect the fluid. If the brake fluid is low, your brakes are most likely damaged and need repair. If the fluid is dirty, it indicates contamination and the brake system should be flushed before using the car.
5. Check the gas
Since your car has been sitting for months, it is possible that the gas would break down if you did not have a gas stabilizer mixed with your gas. If the gas smells and is gummy, you will have to drain it and refill it with fresh gas. Stale gas should not be allowed into the fuel system because it will cause blockage.
6. Check the tires
You must check your tires’ condition before attempting to drive your car. Make sure that the air pressure is within the manufacturer’s recommended psi levels. More information on the psi is found in the manual. If everything is okay but you feel like your tires are rough and emit noises, don’t worry, it will go back to normal within the first few minutes of driving when they have regained tenderness and elasticity. Such is caused by long-term immobility and the tires having to withstand the weight of the car.
7. Spark Plugs
The main thing that will get your car started again, assuming that no major problems have occurred, is all of the spark plugs. The spark plugs are what will provide the initial source of ignition, the process by which an explosion is ignited inside the engine. All of the spark plugs should be checked and cleaned before attempting to start your car.
If the spark plugs are not sparking, you will likely find that the wires have become disconnected from them. Like any other part of a car, spark plugs can be damaged or wear down over time. These should be replaced before attempting to start your car.
8. Make sure your emergency kit is fully stocked
Make sure your emergency kit is fully stocked with items such as jumper cables, flashlights (with extra batteries), tire chains, etc.
9. Check what kind of antifreeze your car takes
Check what kind of antifreeze your car takes and add it to your vehicle (check with the engine manufacturer’s website).
10. Make sure that you have a good ice scraper
Make sure that you have a good ice scraper handy and be sure to check on the ice scrapers that are attached to the front and rear windshields on a regular basis to make sure that they are not becoming too rusted or frozen up to do any good when you need them most.
You will be able to take your car for a ride once you have gone through all of the above-recommended tips. Should you experience anything unusual, you can always hire a professional to check your car out and clear the doubts before driving it again.