How Long Can A Car Sit Without Being Driven?

How long can you leave your car in the driveway before it develops mechanical problems? JunkCarMasters can help you figure out when your unused car might start developing issues.

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With the onset of COVID-19 and subsequent stay-at-home period, many Americans found their favorite set of wheels sitting in the driveway for extended periods of time.

Since social distancing severely limited our interactions with one another, we didn't have too many places to drive. It was a time that was easy on our gas tanks —but not necessarily as easy on our vehicles.

While it might seem like no biggie to leave your vehicle sitting for extended periods of time, the reality of things is it can be damaging to your car. A car that's been idle for a few weeks begins to suffer issues if it remains undisturbed.

Parts That Can Go Wrong When Your Car Is Idle

Let's take a look at some of your vehicle's components that can suffer when it's left idle for long periods of time:


Leaving your car idle for several weeks can have unfortunate effects on your battery, especially if it's in poor condition to begin with. When your car is running, the alternator helps to charge the battery. Without that extra charge, an already dying battery has little chance to survive.


Yes, your tires can suffer from disuse. It sounds crazy, but tires can develop flat spots from sitting in the same position for too long. Under most circumstances, flat spots cannot be fixed. The more likely outcome is you having to replace the tire(s).


If left idle for a long period of time, your car's brakes can rust from exposure. This can cause unsafe issues the next time you drive it. If you hear any grinding or squeaking, then your brakes may have deteriorated during your car's idleness.

Fuel Tanks

When your car is sitting idle for long periods of time, the gas tank can actually accumulate moisture.

This accumulation can impact performance and fuel systems negatively once you start your vehicle back up. Avoid this by making sure your car has a full tank before you leave it sitting.

Oils & Fluids

Your car is designed to be driven and its engine fluids are tailor-made for that purpose as well. Sitting idle for extended periods of time can cause these fluids to go stale.

When you drive your car, these fluids heat up to operating temperatures, flow, and keep gaskets and seals well lubricated. This keeps your brakes, belts, transmission, power steering, and even air conditioning operating smoothly.

red ants on driver's side window


An issue you've likely never thought of was the prospect of different vermin getting into your idle car.

Animals like mice or various other critters can move in and make a home out of your car. They can do their fair share of damage by chewing on the wires of your electrical system or bringing in nesting components that can block up car parts.

Good Ol' Mother Nature

If your car is left idle while exposed to the elements, then it is completely at the mercy of Mother Nature. Aside from the toll the usual weather can take on your vehicle, tree sap and bird droppings can damage your car if they accumulate and aren't removed.

How Do I Prevent My Idle Car From Being Damaged?

In the event that you're not looking to take on the task of storing your vehicle indefinitely, then it's recommended that the vehicle be driven every two or three weeks.

While idling the car for several minutes might seem like it does the trick, your car is going to need a little more than that.

Although idling will get your engine up to normal operating temperatures after about ten minutes, it won't achieve what's necessary to keep your vehicle from suffering any issues.

Drive it around for ten miles or more and get it up to highway speeds if your route allows it. A short drive like that will keep your vehicle running smoothly, even if it is usually sitting idle.

JunkCarMasters: We Buy Cars That Have Sat For Too Long

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If you didn’t store your vehicle properly and it’s now a non-running hunk of metal home to a family of raccoons, then JunkCarMasters is here for you!

We specialize in taking less-than-perfect vehicles off your hand. Our team of customer service representatives can provide a quote for your vehicle within 90 seconds.

Afterwards, we can connect you with one of our partners in your area. They can retrieve the vehicle from wherever it is, completely free of charge!

Once they give it a cursory inspection and hitch it up, they’ll put the quoted amount of money in your hand. It’s a quick and easy process that keeps the hassle off you and puts the hustle on us.

If your car’s sat in the same spot so long that it’s started growing roots (figuratively and literally), then let JunkCarMasters help you out!

Contact us today!

How Long Should A Car Sit Without Being Driven?

You don’t want your car to deteriorate while you’re away for an extended period of time. It has about two weeks (not factoring in weather, age, or the condition of your car) before it begins to experience some form of deterioration.

What Happens If I Let My Car Sit For 3 Months?

If you let your car sit for three months, your first concern is your battery draining while it’s idle. Your alternator charges your car’s battery while it’s driving. If the car isn’t being driven, then the alternator doesn’t have a chance to charge your battery at all.

It’s a Quick and Easy Process

Step 1: Vehicle Details

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Step 3: Accept


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