I'm working in Grinnell Iowa for a year. I plan on traveling to the east coast for a few weeks in December- 1 month at most. The town is really tiny so there's practically no options for covered storage. I'm flying out of Des Moines and haven't checked what parking options there might be- I imagine there might be something there but I don't know if it would be worth the hassle or cost.

Would it be really bad for the car to just leave it uncovered (there's a small lot for my building) for when I'm gone? I should say also that it's a 2003 Suzuki XL7 that I've had for almost 10 years. It had a lot of problems last year and I thought at a certain point that I'd have to just trash it but it made it through. I drove it all the way from NY when I moved and it has been running fine, but I am nervous about doing anything that could make it worse.

If I do leave it (it should be safe), are there at least things I could do to make it more durable during that time?

(I'm hoping eventually to get a new car, but I want to maintain this as long as practically possible!)

  • Get one of those if you are scared.
    – Johannes_B
    Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 8:21

3 Answers 3


You may want to bend the wiper blades away from the windshield so they don't stick in the frost. You may also want to disconnect the battery so that it doesn't drain.


I would actually disagree with the others that you should do anything special for storing a car for 1 month. Typically, a battery won't fully drain in 1 month. Even in cars that have advanced locking systems this may be true, as my car has a feature that all other doors except the driver's door won't unlock using the automatic entry system if the car has been stored for 14 days or more. Also, if you remove the battery, you may lose the radio stations. For these reasons, I would take the risk and leave the battery connected. If you have the possibility of putting a trickle charger on it, that would be an even better option.

Fuel will stay usable for 1 month, as any driver of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle will know.

A hybrid traction battery (which your car doesn't have) won't discharge in 1 month; my car owner's manual says to drive at least once every few months for at least 30 minutes to prevent discharge.

Removing the wiper blades so that they don't stick to the frost is a good idea, but you can do without it. I used to have a car where the wiper blades cannot be permanently turned away from the windshield, so they stuck to the windshield pretty often. No damage done, just some work in removing the sticking windshield wiper blades.

So, my advice would be to just enjoy traveling without worrying about the car. It will probably start when you return. If not, just charge the battery or jump start the car.


Take the battery inside your dwelling and put it on a charger overnight before you use it again. In cold climates you'd want to charge it a few times every winter to make sure it is fully charged during cold spells.

Where I live they put salt on the road, so here we have to wash our cars regularly. (I.e. Do not let the cat sit idle for a month covered with a salty slush)

I had a 15 year old Saab 9000 (now 20, being worked on by my nephew) where the doors would not necessarily close during winter until the car had heated up. Oiling locks and such could be an idea.

  • this is a good idea if its an old/marginal battery.
    – agentp
    Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 17:50

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