What Happens When A Car Is Not Used For a Long Time?

More and more we’re being encouraged to ditch our cars, or at least find ways to reduce the number that are on the roads at any given moment, meaning that there is an increasing number of vehicles parked up in driveways, garages or on the sides of residential roads up and down the country. Of course there’s the immediate saving of fuel to make this a positive for you as a car owner, but are there any side effects as a result of your reduced motoring? Let BMS Salvage guide you through all you’d need to know.


It might sound a bit backwards, but not using your car can actually result in your car’s battery going flat. When your engine is running, the alternator charges the battery, so conversely, if you’re not driving, you won’t be charging the battery and therefore it will gradually be losing charge over time. Even if you’re not using it at all, the battery will gradually be losing power and you may find that when you get back behind the wheel after a prolonged period that it’s gone flat and you’re unable to start. It’s also worth making sure there is nothing on inside the car (such as an interior light) as this will also zap any remaining juice out of your battery.


Cars aren’t light, and all of that weight is being pressed down to the ground through four rubber tubes around your wheels – otherwise known as tyres. This can cause your tyres to deform over time, becoming dented and flat in one specific place and before you know it it’ll be like driving around on a set of 50 pence pieces. Your tyre pressures will also lose on average 1-2 psi a month, so if left for a particularly long period you could come out to find your tyres have simply gone flat and will need pumping back up before you get back on the road.


Unused brakes will begin to rust as time goes by, and rusted brakes are incredibly unsafe. A thin layer is nothing to worry about as this will get worn away when the pads and discs make contact, but if the rust spreads to the brake pad backing plate, then braking performance will be compromised. The build up of rust will be worsened if the car has been sitting through rainy or snowy conditions.

Creepy Crawlies

In a cold, wet November your car is going to look very appealing to animals and insects looking for shelter from the elements. Unfortunately your car becoming a makeshift hotel isn’t going to be a particularly fun experience for you as an owner. If you have any food remnants in your car (empty crisp packets, stray fries, crumbs etc) then that will attract colonies of ants, or worse, rats. Mice or even squirrels may also think your car is a nice place to make camp, and could chew through vital wiring that could render your car motionless when you come to try and move it again.

Fuel tank

Monitoring your fuel tank shouldn’t be something you do just before a long journey, and if you know that your car is going to be parked for a long time, you’re going to want to make sure that it’s got a full tank. If left empty, the tank could build up moisture in the time the car isn’t moving, which could result in a rusting of your fuel system and damage to your injectors and engine cylinders. Fuel can also go bad if left stagnant for prolonged periods (of around six months or more), so if you know it’s going to be left alone, it is suggested to add a fuel stabiliser and allow this to circulate the engine with a five to ten mile drive before parking up.

Environmental damage

If you know your car is going to be parked up for a particularly long time, then it’s worth considering exactly where that’s going to be, because your environment could alter the level of damages caused. If you’re parked under trees, particularly breeds such as pine, then the sap released will wreak havoc with your bodywork. Sap is a substance released by trees, and the likes of pine trees are particularly sticky, which is not only extremely difficult to remove, but could damage paintwork if not tackled quick enough. The same goes for bird poo – which, if not removed quickly, can damage the clear outer layer of a car and work its way through to the paintwork.

Scrapping Made Simple with BMS Salvage

Here at BMS Salvage, we are the #1 buyer of damaged cars in the country, meaning we can guarantee you a simple way to get the very best price for your car, no matter its condition. Dealing with both scrap and salvage vehicles, we’ll offer you a competitive quote no matter where you are in the country. With free collection thrown in, there’s no better way to get the best price for your scrap or salvage car. Get started today and see just how much your broken and unwanted car could be worth.