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What to Check Before Driving If Your Car Has Been Sitting a While

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Do you have a vehicle that's been sitting for a few weeks? Before you just drive it away, there's some things you should check out.

Now, if your car has sat for over three weeks the battery is going to be on the weak side and it's a good idea to charge it up. Use a battery charger, hook up the positive side first, and then the negative and then we'll plug in the battery charger. This is a newer digital style battery charger, which is nice because it'll give you some information. So it's charging at 12 volts, so this battery is at 76% charged, so it needs a little bit of a charge. This has been sitting for a couple weeks now. Charging the battery with a battery charger is going to be the safest way to get the battery back up to par. If you can't charge the battery and you need to jumpstart it, double-check your owner's manual for the proper technique, and if your vehicle can even be jumpstarted. Some vehicles can't even be jumpstarted.

It's always a good idea to double-check your fluids, your power steering fluid, your oil, your coolant. Even look underneath the vehicle, and see if there's any leaks. A vehicle that sits tends to leak a little more oil or even coolant if it gets warm in cold temperatures outside. Things that don't normally leak could start leaking. While you're under the hood, you might as well top off your washer fluid.

Another great thing to do is check your tire pressures. Use a tire pressure gauge, go around to all four tires. You can double-check the door to see where the pressure should be on that vehicle and adjust accordingly. If you find one of the tires is lower than the other significantly, like more than 10 pounds difference, then there may be something wrong with that tire. You might have a leak in the bead, might have a nail or something wrong with the valve stem. So you might want to look into that a little further. But if they're all only about five PSI down, you probably just need to add air.

While you're checking stuff out, it's always a good idea to check out the wipers. These are obviously not good wipers, you know, normally you might even just have the wiper stick to the windshield a little bit, just pull the wipers up and just wipe the wipers down. But obviously, these need to be replaced.

All right, if there's any debris in the cowl, like leaves or pine needles, you want to get rid of that, because it could affect your heating system. And also, you don't want any fires or anything. So make sure when you pop the hood, just check anything underneath as well.

Now let's start up the car. You want to make sure you let your car run for a little bit, don't just start it and pull away. That's not a good idea. Let it run. You should normally start your car and let it run for a couple minutes before you even drive away but maybe while it sat for a little bit, maybe let it run a little bit longer. When you go to drive away you may hear some weird noises like if the brakes are sticking a little bit, if the rotors have rusted and the pads are sticking to the rotor, so don't be completely alarmed if that happens. And then when you're driving down the road when you go to brake the first couple times you may hear some grinding. Don't be too alarmed. Try driving it a little bit longer and maybe even giving it a good couple stops. You don't want to slam on the brakes but a couple good stops or good slowdowns should take care of that rust and it should be all set.

I hope this video helps you out. If you have any other suggestions leave me a comment below. If you enjoyed this video, make sure you subscribe to our channel, ring that bell, turn on all notifications so you don't miss any of our videos.

Thanks for watching. Visit 1aauto.com, your place for DIY auto repairs, for great parts, great service, and more content.


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