What Can Happen If You Don’t Drive Your Car?


With the Covid pandemic came the possibility of working from home which for many was a blessing, with flexibility at their fingertips and a relaxed environment to work in. Even with Covid coming (hopefully) to an end, for many companies the working from home strategy seems to be working in their favour – and for the employees too.

However with working from home, it seems that many therefore will not be using their car half as much as they used to, if at all! Or maybe you’re jabbed and ready to jet off abroad for that long anticipated dose of sunshine and sea! For some this may cause a worry in relation to your car and what happens to it if you don’t use it for long periods of time. We’ve got the answers for you, so that you can work at home or jet off to blue skies without worrying!


How long can I keep my car without starting it up? Will the battery die?

For most cars, you should be completely fine to leave the car for at least 2 weeks without starting it up, however it does depend on the condition of the car’s battery. Obviously if the car is older and the battery could do with some TLC, then you may need to start the vehicle more frequently than this. However most cars should be pretty healthy battery wise and can get away with not being started up for 2 weeks. The battery is very unlikely to die, unless you keep your lights on!

If you are worried then just to be on the safe side, start it up every week! You could give your keys to somebody you trust to do this for you if you are away on holiday.


How long can a car sit without being driven? Is 3 weeks too much?

Realistically, your car will be absolutely fine to sit there and not be driven, even if it has been a relatively long period of time. However, it is probably best if the car is started semi-regularly to ensure that the battery is in good condition (as mentioned above). If you have left the car for a long period of time and are coming to drive it, then make sure you carry out some basic maintenance checks, such as the tyre pressure, brakes and steering.  If you need some helpful hints on what to look for, then check out our advice and tips on checking your vehicle here! 

After you have made your checks, take the car out for a short spin and test the brakes every so often to help clear off any corrosion which you may encounter.


What happens if you don’t drive your car?

As long as you follow general guidelines around starting the engine and keeping the vehicle in good condition, both mechanically and aesthetically, then your car should be fine if you don’t drive it for a while. You may find some corrosion, particularly if it has been wet weather, and of course tyre pressures will likely decrease and brakes can seize too. But there’s no need to worry about this as modern cars are designed to withstand being sat around for longer, and there are a few simple ways in which you can keep your car in its best condition when you’re not going to be starting or driving it!


Will I need to get an MOT if I don’t drive my car regularly?

Regardless of whether you’re not driving the car for a long time, a valid MOT is still a legal requirement. If you want to declare the vehicle as not in use and off road, then you will need to do this with a ‘Statutory Off Road Notification’ (SORN). However, once you do this then you are not allowed to drive the car again until you change the status via the DVLA. 

We’d advise that you make sure of the MOT status of your car before leaving it for a long time. If your MOT expires, then consider SORNing it, or make sure you or someone you trust can take it to an MOT testing station before it elapses. If your MOT does expire, then make sure you schedule a test as soon as possible. Do not drive the car, unless it is to attend a pre-booked MOT. You are legally not permitted to drive the car for any other reason if the MOT has expired.


So as long as you take the right steps, precautions and maintenance checks, your vehicle will be completely OK when leaving it for a long period of time. Try your best to start it up every so often, drive it a little and it shall be in good condition. However, we know that sometimes this isn’t possible, for example, if you’re going abroad for a long period, and if this is the case, then you can either hand over your keys to somebody you trust or either thoroughly check the vehicle before leaving it. 

rusty car

If you need help with maintenance checks then take a look through our full list of all of the checks you will need to carry out. If you’re still a little lost, then we have a fair few resources available on other posts for you to check out. Alternatively, find yourself a trusted local garage or mechanic to help you with your queries!


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