2020 Toyota Camry black side view

How to maintain battery health during vehicle storage

Can you leave your vehicle sit for a month without driving it?

Whether you’re just taking a break from your car for a while due to vacation or a change in life circumstance, or you are reading this during the current coronavirus outbreak in 2020, you may need to let your car sit for an extended period of time. Can you leave your vehicle sit for a month without driving it? Is there anything you can do to prep your vehicle for a long sit? We are here to help.

2020 Toyota C-HR white side view

Is letting your car sit harmful to your battery?

The battery in your car may seem like worlds apart from the battery in your phone. The chemical processes, scale, and power involved are all very different, but they operate on very similar principles. For example, even without any major use, both batteries will drain over time. If you let your phone sit for a month, even off, you may turn it on at the end to see your battery has dropped significantly from its fully charged state.

Your car battery is the same, except, unlike your off phone, even when your car is off there are systems draining your battery. If your battery gets fully depleted, it can receive permanent damage, again, just like the battery in your phone. There are a few ways to mitigate this.

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2020 Toyota Camry silver back view on road

How to keep your car battery healthy when storing?

Basically, there are three things you can do. The easiest is to just drive your car. Once every week or so, go take it for a drive. This will get your alternator running and charge your battery. It can also do wonders for ensuring that your engine is properly lubricated. Idling your car can do the same thing, but it will take a lot longer, and idling a gasoline engine isn’t great for engine health.

If you can’t drive your car, then you can install a battery tender (a qualified service department can also install one for you). This will use power from your garage to keep your battery charged perfectly. Your last option is to disconnect your battery. This will reset all those systems that rely on your battery, so it can be more trouble than the other two proposed methods.

Will everything else in your car be fine after storage?

As long as you are storing your car in a safe place and only for a month or two, things like fuel, oil, and lubricants will all be fine. For oil, you’re going to be better off with full synthetic oil as regular oil breaks down over time. For storage times greater than a month or two, please consult a professional for proper storage techniques.

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