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Keep Maintaining Your Vehicle Even If It Sits Idle


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With a majority of vehicle owners living in areas of the country that have stay-at-home orders, many vehicles may be sitting idle for days or weeks at a time. The non-profit Car Care Council recommends starting your car at least once a week and keeping up with routine auto care to help prevent potential maintenance issues.

“Just as it is recommended that people stay active during this time of social distancing, your car should get some activity as well,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “If your vehicle sits idle for too long, the battery could die, the tires can develop flat spots and the engine oil may start to deteriorate. Just a short solo drive once a week and a little car care will keep your car running efficiently and safely.”

When starting your car weekly, let it run for at least five minutes. If the vehicle is started in a garage, make sure the garage door is open and there is plenty of ventilation. In addition, the Car Care Council suggests monitoring the following areas of your vehicle if it sits idle for long periods of time.

Battery – Today’s vehicles have several computers that are always in operation, so if a car sits too long without recharging, the battery could die within a couple of weeks.

Tires – Maintain proper tire pressure to improve vehicle performance and gas mileage. Doing so is also important for vehicle safety. Checking the tire pressure frequently is more important if the car is parked for long periods of time. Vehicles that sit idle too long can develop flat spots, so taking a brief drive every once in a while will help prevent bald spots, and recharge the battery, too.

Fuel – Today’s modern fuel systems help preserve the life of the gas in your tank and also prevent fuel oxidation. Keeping a full tank of gas helps limit gas-tank condensation. If you are still concerned about the gas in your tank going bad, a fuel stabilizer may help extend the life of your fuel.

Oil – If a car sits too long, the oil can deteriorate, so continue to change the oil at the proper time intervals, even if you are not driving your normal mileage. It is always best to check the owner’s manual for the maximum time you should wait between oil changes.

Brakes – If a car sits idle, rust can start to form on the brake rotors, especially if the car is parked outside. Driving your car at least once a week will help prevent rust buildup.

Cleaning – Removing the grime and sediment that builds up on the outside of your car helps prevent rust, and cleaning the interior is important, too. Wipe down the dashboard, steering wheel, cup holders, door handles, vents and console with a quality, all-purpose automotive cleaner that will help disinfect the interior areas of your vehicle.

For more helpful information about maintaining your vehicle for safety, dependability and value, visit

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to order the Car Care Council’s free 80-page Car Care Guide.

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      In spite of the skyrocketing cost of fuel, I’m still looking forward to a couple of summer road trips. While there’s nothing we can do about the prices at the pump, keeping our vehicles properly maintained can help those gallons go further.
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    • DIY like a pro! Shop from over 1,000,000 Repair Manuals at eManualOnline.com! As low as $14.99 per manual. Shop now.


      DIY like a pro! Shop from over 1,000,000 Repair Manuals at eManualOnline.com! As low as $14.99 per manual. Shop now.


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      Even so, you might have some DIY customers who want to “top off” their R-1234yf systems. In these situations, make sure your customers know that they won’t be able to use an R-134a charging hose to connect to the service port on an R-1234yf vehicle. While R-134a and R-1234yf air-conditioning systems are very similar in terms of their overall design, the respective service ports are different, to prevent the refrigerants from being mixed. To recharge an R-1234yf system, your DIY customers will need a gauge-and-hose set with hose couplers that fit an R-1234yf service port – another potential sales opportunity for your store. 
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      On the DIFM side, your professional customers will need a new recover/recycle/recharge (RRR) machine to service R-1234yf vehicles, although there are some machines on the market that can service R-134a and R-1234yf vehicles.
      Chemours Opteon YF offers 10-pound and 25-pound cylinders for use with RRR machines. The cylinders are for professional technicians, as they need EPA Section 609 certification to purchase them. The 10-pound cylinders by far are the most popular, according to Giannaris.
      With approximately 15 million R-1234yf passenger vehicles coming out of their factory warranty each year, aftermarket demand for R-1234yf refills and service is growing steadily. For parts stores that haven’t started stocking R-1234yf cylinders yet, Spalding recommends “planting the seeds” with their DIFM customers.
      “If you’re selling cylinders of R-134a, those are potential customers for cylinders of R-1234yf,” Spalding says. “Ask your customers if they are seeing the increase in vehicles containing yf at their shops. I think there is a lot that a retailer can bring to their customers in terms of educating them about how the market is changing and how the fleet is changing. If you recognize a customer has been purchasing R-134a from you for quite some time, asking them how you can help them transition to R-1234yf can go a long way.”
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