How often do I need to drive a seldom-used truck?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
McCharley
Posts: 317
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:45 pm

How often do I need to drive a seldom-used truck?

Post by McCharley » Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:48 pm

I have a 2011 Toyota Tacoma which doesn't get driven much. I bike to work and sometimes the truck can sit for 2-3 weeks. It only has about 1600 miles on it. I do try to get the engine up to temperature when I do take it out.

Do I need to drive this more?

User avatar
Frugal Al
Posts: 1692
Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 10:09 am

Re: How often do I need to drive a seldom-used truck?

Post by Frugal Al » Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:03 am

Every 2-3 weeks is fine as long as everything is getting up to temp for 20 minutes or so.

PrinceAli132
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:19 pm
Location: Miami, FL

Re: How often do I need to drive a seldom-used truck?

Post by PrinceAli132 » Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:37 am

Every 2-3 weeks should be fine.

If you do plan on letting the car sit for an extended period of time then I would consider adding a fuel stabilizer and occasionally rolling the car forward or backward to prevent the tires from flat spotting.

Ali

guitarguy
Posts: 1761
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:10 pm

Re: How often do I need to drive a seldom-used truck?

Post by guitarguy » Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:18 am

I'd add to keep an eye on your tire pressure...just in case.

JDCPAEsq
Posts: 1835
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: Southwest Florida

Re: How often do I need to drive a seldom-used truck?

Post by JDCPAEsq » Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:22 am

I had two homes and stored a car at each home for six months at a time on a battery charger. Never a problem.
John

mostlycloudy
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:40 pm

Re: How often do I need to drive a seldom-used truck?

Post by mostlycloudy » Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:13 am

I have a 1993 Ford Explorer with 125k miles. Over the years, I have made most of the mistakes related to this subject. The vehicle is now driven about one week at four times a year (4 wks. total a year). Another words, this sport utility vehicle is driven 500+- miles in a 12 month period. I know this is not the best use of the vehicle. :oops: The use of a fuel stabilizer, clean oil, and a battery trickle charger, plus most of the ideas already listed above seems to make a difference. :idea:

mikem
Posts: 186
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:28 pm

Re: How often do I need to drive a seldom-used truck?

Post by mikem » Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:51 pm

Frugal Al wrote:Every 2-3 weeks is fine as long as everything is getting up to temp for 20 minutes or so.
Just because your coolant temperature is up to temp does not mean your engine oil is up to temp. Your oil needs to be hot enough so moisture does not condense in the pan. I would drive on the highway, at highway speeds for 20 miles if your intent is for it to sit idle for 2-3 weeks.

mnnice
Posts: 336
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:48 pm

Re: How often do I need to drive a seldom-used truck?

Post by mnnice » Tue Oct 09, 2012 2:43 pm

Not that it is your orginal question, but it sounds like an awful nice truck to just sit there.

Could you rent, use a zip car or call a taxi when you need a vehicle?

User avatar
Tim_in_GA
Posts: 309
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:42 am

Re: How often do I need to drive a seldom-used truck?

Post by Tim_in_GA » Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:23 pm

Years ago my wife's car sat in the garage a lot since she works from home. The tires formed cracks from sitting too long and one day a tire shredded apart while she was driving, fortunately close to home and at low speed. The guy at the tire shop told us it needs to be driven every week or two. Currently, due to the higher gas prices, I drive her car 4 days a week and only drive my truck once a week. Sometimes I stretch that to two weeks but no more than that.

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 13828
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: How often do I need to drive a seldom-used truck?

Post by Watty » Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:36 pm

If you are in an area that gets cold don't forget to put windshield washer fluid in it that will not freeze.
I have a 2011 Toyota Tacoma which doesn't get driven much.
We have an earlier model Tacoma. One thing to watch out for is if the low tire pressue light comes one and the tire pressue seems OK is that the spare tire also has a tire pressure monitor in it. In our case it was the one that was low and it took a while to figure that out. :oops:

User avatar
Frugal Al
Posts: 1692
Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 10:09 am

Re: How often do I need to drive a seldom-used truck?

Post by Frugal Al » Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:57 pm

mikem wrote:Just because your coolant temperature is up to temp does not mean your engine oil is up to temp. Your oil needs to be hot enough so moisture does not condense in the pan. I would drive on the highway, at highway speeds for 20 miles if your intent is for it to sit idle for 2-3 weeks.

Thanks for clarifying, Mike; that's really what I meant. He didn't say he drove short distances when he drives it. Really, 2-3 weeks for a car to go between drives isn't a problem. If it's then only driven for 5-10 minutes, that's a problem. That doesn't seem to be the case.

snyder66
Posts: 1055
Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:46 pm

Re: How often do I need to drive a seldom-used truck?

Post by snyder66 » Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:11 pm

Need me to drive it for you?

NHRATA01
Posts: 484
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2011 1:57 pm
Location: New York City area

Re: How often do I need to drive a seldom-used truck?

Post by NHRATA01 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:45 pm

2-3 weeks as mentioned should be fine providing it's a solid 15-20 minute drive to get all fluids (not just coolant and oil) up to operating temperature. Is it kept indoors? That would help keep the brake rotors from rusting to the point of pitting.

McCharley
Posts: 317
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:45 pm

Re: How often do I need to drive a seldom-used truck?

Post by McCharley » Sat Oct 20, 2012 1:10 pm

Thanks to those who replied (and apologies for reposting it). There have been a few people who have suggested renting a car now and then rather than having this one. Almost every experience I've had renting cars has been negative -- long waits, high pressure sales on the insurance. Plus that eliminates spontaneity (like when I find my bike has a flat tire and I need to get to work). In the past I have always had 10 year old cars (or a lot more). This truck replaced a 1987 Tacoma. When I went to replace it I found that new vehicles were better in many ways than used ones (more air bags, traction control, etc.) and that the price differential was not worth it. Hopefully I can make this one last for a very long time!

musbane
Posts: 390
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 11:14 am

Re: How often do I need to drive a seldom-used truck?

Post by musbane » Sat Oct 20, 2012 1:40 pm

Several people have recommended a trickle charger. While this works- if you get a good one that won't overcharge your battery - an alternative is to use an AGM battery such as an Optima that has virtually no self discharge. You need to make sure you have little or no parasitic drains when leaving the car unused.

Fuel stabilizer is also a good idea, especially with the gasohol we now get.

I believe that synthetic oil will cling better to the moving parts than Dino oil while sitting.

Watch out for squirrel or mouse nests.

User avatar
stickman731
Posts: 266
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 10:42 am
Location: New Jersey

Re: How often do I need to drive a seldom-used truck?

Post by stickman731 » Sat Oct 20, 2012 1:50 pm

I have 1998 Dodge Ram and use it rarely. Over the last three years, I have only put gas it personnaly four times. I have friends and neighbors who borrow it and the rule is 0 if you use it return it full. I still only get 1000 miles /yr.


I agree with most of the suggestion including getting the oil temperature up to 200. I would also recommend dry gas (methanol) addition once a quarter to get residual moisture out of the fuel. Most stabilizers have additives that can gunk up the system if not drive enough.

Post Reply