Like all other areas in the world at this time, the Middle East is subject to the same government-enforced restrictions concerning the movement of people. So in all likelihood, your vehicle is likely to remain stationary for some time. Parking a car for a long period of time can create a few problems, because certain components of your car will need attention during this period. If neglected, they will deteriorate through lack of use and potentially render your vehicle undrivable.

Here are some tips on how to store a car for a long time and how to keep your vehicle in great condition until restrictions are lifted.

Disconnect your battery by removing the electrical cables from each battery terminal. It is advised to remove the negative cable first (you will see a – sign next to it) using the appropriate-sized spanner. Then repeat the exercise with the positive cable, without letting the two cable touch each other. Even when standing still with no ignition, certain electrical parts of your vehicle are still drawing power from the battery, such as the clock or onboard computer system. Not a lot, but over a period of time enough to drain the battery completely. The result of this? Well, you won’t be able to start your car at all, which will be highly inconvenient. Also, your battery may not respond to recharging and consequently will need to be replaced.

Check for flat spots on your tyres. Even premium quality tyres can be prone to developing flat spots if left supporting the weight of a stationary vehicle for a week or more. Such a spot on a tyre can become a permanent deformity. The way to check for this problem is simple. You only need to move your vehicle a few centimetres forward or backwards to check the area that has been in contact with the ground. If that appears to be a little smoother than the surrounding tread or even appears to be scratched, that’s a flat spot. If left, the handling of the vehicle will be compromised and you will feel vibrations through the steering wheel. If you have the ability to rotate the wheels (as suggested in a previous sentence) on a twice weekly basis, this will prevent flat spots.

Keep your vehicle clean. Keeping a stationary vehicle clean in any part of the world is accepted practice. Here is the Middle East, it is absolutely vital. If dust or even the finest particles of sand accumulate on the exterior of the car, there is a great risk of scratches to the paintwork when it is eventually cleaned. The interior of the car is even more vulnerable.

The leather and composite materials found in most vehicles are not impervious to dust and

will suffer some form of degradation, thus devaluing your vehicle or creating unnecessary expensive in order to fix or replace damaged materials. The engine compartment is also at risk, with every component at risk of having its working lifespan reduced through damage. Give your vehicle a thorough cleaning even if it appears to be clean, inside and out, once a week.

Change your engine oil. When engine oil is left in an immobile state, without fluidity and not being subject to temperature change, it becomes thick and viscous, which means your vehicle will be hard or impossible to start. We appreciate it may not be possible for you to change it yourself, so we advise you to make a call for some assistance or if you can, get to your nearest gas station to replace it.

Keep a full tank of gas. This may seem odd, given that you won’t be using your vehicle. But keeping your fuel tank full will prevent rust. Depending on the period of time your vehicle will be immobile, we suggest you also contact your gas station and enquire about fuel stabilizers, which will help to preserve your gasoline or diesel fuel. Instructions on usage will appear on the packaging of the stabilizer.

Use a car cover. Not a mandatory consideration, but a car cover will offer some protection,

particularly if your vehicle is stationary outdoors. It can’t prevent the infamous Middle East dust from getting onto, and inside, your vehicle. But it will protect from weather. Contact an auto accessory outlet or even your original dealer if you do not possess a cover.