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Caring for a "Car Not Being Driven"

daveleencdaveleenc North CarolinaMember Posts: 17
edited November 2015 in Chevrolet
My aging Mom has a 2005 Chevy Impala with 65K miles. She will be away from her home for 6-9 months for surgery with a pretty long recovery time. She is hopeful that this will go well and she can return home and continue her normal life where local, small town driving was very doable for her.

I am trying to arrange care for her car while she is gone (I live 12 hours away). What is the minimum driving that I could get a local friend to do that would "keep this car relatively healthy"? The car will be garaged, in an area that rarely sees temps lower than 15 degrees or so over the winter.

Thanks.

dave

Comments

  • daveleencdaveleenc North CarolinaMember Posts: 17
    A follow up here. Rather than storing the car, my (and my Mom's) preference is to "keep it driveable" at all times.

    dave
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    If you're going to keep it driveable, then it will have to be driven. By that I mean it's no good to just have someone go into the garage, open the garage door, and start it up and let it run for 15 minutes. That's a car killer. The car will have to be driven until it comes up to normal operating temperature, however long that takes.

    If the car's "exercise" sessions only occur every two weeks or so, you might want to consider investing in a "smart charger", which keeps the battery up. It remains plugged in all the time. These are not the same as regular chargers, which are meant to fast charge dead batteries.

    Other than that, just maintaining tire pressure and keeping the gas tank pretty full are all I can think of.

    Oh---if rodents are a problem set some traps. Chances are with someone driving the car every now and then, they won't have time to nest in there. But you never know.
  • slorenzenslorenzen Member Posts: 694
    daveleenc said:

    A follow up here. Rather than storing the car, my (and my Mom's) preference is to "keep it driveable" at all times.

    dave

    I'd recommend having a trusted friend drive the car 10 miles once every 2 weeks, and due to the temperatures, keep the battery on a trickle charger.

    That should be enough to keep things running OK until your mom can drive herself.

    May she heal well, and sooner than the doctors say!

  • daveleencdaveleenc North CarolinaMember Posts: 17
    Thanks for the comments, Mr. S. I would think (in fact would be pretty sure) that a car will come up to temperature with 15 minutes of idling. So is 15 minutes of weekly idling still "a car killer". If the thing doesn't move I would expect the issues to be transmission and tires in that case.

    I'm just not sure - thanks.

    dave
  • daveleencdaveleenc North CarolinaMember Posts: 17
    Sloren - thanks for the comments and good wishes.

    dave
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I think the entire car needs to be moving, to lubricate the transmission, limber up the brake calipers and set the suspension in motion. It's the "fast idle" that concerns me, as this requires a somewhat richer mixture, which in turn can dilute the engine oil over time. I'm thinking not just "gauge temperature" but internal engine temperatures.
    daveleenc said:

    Thanks for the comments, Mr. S. I would think (in fact would be pretty sure) that a car will come up to temperature with 15 minutes of idling. So is 15 minutes of weekly idling still "a car killer". If the thing doesn't move I would expect the issues to be transmission and tires in that case.

    I'm just not sure - thanks.

    dave

  • henrynhenryn Houston, TXMember Posts: 2,658
    Definitely drive the car. Far enough to reach operating temperature, 5 to 10 miles. And at least once per month, preferably twice. You need to find someone locally whom you trust.

    Does she live in a house / apartment / ??? Do you have someone taking care of / checking on her residence? If so, just ask them to drive the car once a week, then you shouldn't even need the trickle charger.
    2019 Chrysler Pacifica
  • carboy21carboy21 Member Posts: 760
    Sell it off . Buy a used one when she is ready to drive. You have no idea how long she will take to recover. Complications can extend recovery. Cars don't take kindly to pickling. Rust , sludge , tires cracking up under single position, many things can go wrong.
  • daveleencdaveleenc North CarolinaMember Posts: 17
    henryn said:

    Definitely drive the car. Far enough to reach operating temperature, 5 to 10 miles. And at least once per month, preferably twice. You need to find someone locally whom you trust.

    Does she live in a house / apartment / ??? Do you have someone taking care of / checking on her residence? If so, just ask them to drive the car once a week, then you shouldn't even need the trickle charger.

    Bingo - the heart and soul of the question. How often and how long to drive the car. Thanks.

    dave

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 14,775
    I can't disagree with the comments thus far!

    That said, biweekly driving of the car isn't really necessary unless it just "works" for the person caring for it. I have several vehicles that I use seasonally, and they get any use at all exactly that often. So, they sit for about six-to-eight months a year with no use at all, and then get their time in the sun before taking another long nap. No problems thus far with having done this for as many as twenty years. I just treat them like I *do* use them more often in terms of fluid maintenance (e.g., annual oil changes, swap out the brake fluid and differentials every few years, coolant every six or seven, that sort of thing).

    For a more modern vehicle, definitely put that maintenance charger on as opposed to removing batteries like I do for my old rigs. My grandmother does that when she leaves her houses every six months (she goes back and forth), and the cars don't notice she even left.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
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