Northern VA Auto Repair


How to Prevent "Car-thritus"

“Car-thritus” (rhymes with arthritis)

When your vehicle sits unused for a long length of time and suffers from stiffness and deterioration.  Common symptoms include poor engine lubrication, rusty brake rotors & engine components, battery degradation and a possible “non-start” situation.

Tips to prevent “Car-thritus”


Car batteries discharge their power over time with lack of use.  A healthy battery is important for peak vehicle performance.

  • Prevent a dead battery by taking your car for a drive.
  • Aim to do this once per week.

Start that Engine!

Take your car our for a 20-minute drive to warm up the motor and transmission to its’ ideal operating temperature.  If you don’t have 20 minutes, just let it idle for a couple of minutes.

  • Helps charge your battery and gets fluids moving.
  • Reduces the chance of rust & erosion in your engine’s components.
  • If you have more than one vehicle, switch between them regularly.

Check the Fluids

Fluids can begin to separate and settle if sitting for too long.

  • Check and replenish all vital fluids if needed: Engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid & engine coolant.
  • Top off your gas tank to prevent condensation from accumulating.

Check your Tire Pressure

Lost tire pressure and weight of the vehicle can cause “Flat Spots”, especially for old or balding tires.

  • Find recommended tire pressure on sticker in driver’s side door panel.  For most cars, 30-35psi is ideal.
  • Check all 4 tires’ pressure next time you’re at a gas station. 

Park Smart

  • Parking on soft surfaces like grass or dirt can allow moisture transfer to inside of the car.  Pavement is best, gravel is 2nd.  Best place is in shade or in a garage.
  • Avoid parking under a tree.  Bird poop, sap and leaves can cause damage to your vehicle.
  • Use a breathable car cover when possible.

Cleanliness is key

Dust, dirt and debris can build-up quickly and damage your car’s exterior.  Wind, rain, snow and UV rays are also harsh on your vehicle.

  • Never wash a car in direct sunlight.
  • Use a wash mitt & car shampoo to clean; dry off with a microfiber towel.
  • Keep your cowl (vented grill area at the base of the windshield) free of leaves and debris.  Check and clear it out often.

Take advantage of a Seasonal Walk Around Service from Craftsman Auto Care.  Call your nearest location to learn more about this quick vehicle check where we come to your vehicle, start the engine and inspect the fluids, belts, hoses & tire pressure to ensure it will start after a long period of inactivity.


Auto Care