How Often Should You Start Your Car

Cars often suffer a mechanical blow when allowed to sit idle for a long time. You might have wondered why it takes long hours to get your vehicle running up to speed during winter or on a cold morning. This is because, just as you may need a hot coffee to awaken your spirit on a cold morning, a car’s engine uses vaporized gasoline to ignite its internal combustion system. On a cold day, gasoline is less likely to evaporate for the combustion event.

If you seldom drive your car because of such situations as the present COVID-19, you will have to start your vehicle at least every 2-3 weeks.

This ensures you will get your car up and running anytime you are ready.

To adhere to this maintenance routine might be the difference between getting your car to start and spending expensive dollars on repairs. It also helps to preserve the durability of your car’s engine.

How Often Should You Start Your Car?

Most cars are not designed to be left under a shed. However, when you find yourself in a situation that you seldom drive around, you should be interested in how often you start your car.

What happens when a car sits for a long time?

Although some people believe that an idle car in the garage should be just fine, many faults can become from a car sitting idle for a long time. The first noticeable one is battery drainage followed by the oil, corrosion of piston rings, clogged filters and injectors.

Most experts accepted that a standard car’s battery should be able to stay idle for 4 weeks before they are fully drained.

When your car is not started within 8 weeks, the gas and oil compartment collects moisture. Parts like the piston rings, the injector walls will become clogged and corroded.

In the long run, external parts like the tire slowly wear out. Tires lose more air during cold weather or when cars are allowed to sit for long. Since the tire pressure is too low, the vehicle’s weight sits on the surface of the ground, which increases friction. Too much friction can cause wear and tear, tread separation, tires overheating, and blowouts.

How long can I let my car sit without starting it?

You are advised to start your engine every 2-3 weeks to avoid extra cost on repairs.

Once you start the car, you should allow it to warm up to its operating temperature. This removes any water clogging. It also helps to cycle fresh oil through the engine to lubricate the vehicle’s part regularly.

Also, taking the car for a few rides every 2-3 weeks will help conserve the tires’ air pressure.

Can I Idle My Car Instead Of Driving?

Idling the car instead of driving has more negative effects on your car than you expected.

When you start your car without taking it for a few rides, it will require more time for the vehicle to warm up to its operating temperature. This allows excess fuel to get into the engine, which causes wear and tear of the piston walls.

Also, at this stage, the battery may not maintain a charge from the alternator due to a low engine RPM.

Your engine is also at the risk of crankcase dilution. This is caused by incomplete combustion that allows a certain amount of fuel to pass down between the piston and dilute the engine oils.

Its effect is that the engine’s wear overtime increases since the fuel degrades the oil to lose its lubricating properties. With this, the moving parts of the engine will get stuck often.

Automatic shutdown and startup systems are effective alternatives when your car has to run idle for a long time.

How To Prepare Your Car For A Longer Storage Time?

Don't forget a car cover if you store your car in an open space.
Using car cover to protect your car from dust and bad weather conditions.

With a few basic routines, you can save your car engine’s life and avoid inexpensive auto repairs. Here are few ways to keep your car in good condition even when in storage:

  • Fill your tank with gas along with fuel stabilizers to avoid fuel degradation.
  • Give your car a good clean inside and out. You also need to put a car cover if you’re to store it in an open space. Find purchasing options for car cover here.
  • Check your auto for fuel leaks, brake failures, transmission and engine fault, and any other repairs you’d need to fix.
  • Inflate your tire to a higher pressure before storing it. It’s easier for tires to lose pressure, especially during temperature balance.
  • Your car battery should be disconnected but use a Battery Tender to trickle-charge the battery. Keeping your battery charged increases its life span.
  • Release your car brake to avoid corrosion on the surface of the brake pad and discs.
  • Jack up your car wheels. This will prevent your tires from developing flat spots.
  • Finally, you should park your car on some heavy plastic. This prevents moisture absorption that may degrade the tire.

Find purchasing options for Battery Tender here:

Battery Tender Junior

Battery Tender Junior

Battery Tender Plus charger

Battery Tender Plus


1. How long can I let my car sit without starting it?

It’s advisable not to allow your car to sit idle for more than two weeks to save the engine’s efficiency. If you follow the maintenance routine above, you should be able to park your car for a longer time.

2. Is it bad to drive your car every day?

There may be more wear and tear on a car that’s driven more often. However, the distance isn’t the breaking point. What is more critical is routine maintenance will help you pick faults earlier and correct them.

3. What is the minimum a car should be driven

A car should be driven in 30 minutes (at least 40-60 miles) once every 2-3 weeks. This helps to maintain the normal fluids and temperature level of the fuel and oil compartments.

4. Is it bad to let a car sit for a week?

A week is probably not going to cause much trouble. However, it would help if you gave it a proper clean in and out to avoid rodent infestations.

5. How often should I start my classic car?

It is best to fire it up once every month to warm the engine. Then you should take it for a drive a few miles to ensure the tires don’t deform.

Read more: How Long Can A Car Battery Sit Unused

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