I am leaving my car (2016 Toyota Rav 4 XLE) to go on vacation. This will be during the winter so December to January. It will be under covered parking, but I am worried about what the cold will do to it if it isn’t going to be driven for 1 month. Any tips on what I should do to protect it before I leave?
Your vehicle will be perfectly fine. You don't necessarily need to do anything before leaving.
Clean out the interior first; make sure there's no food or anything that could spoil or attract a hungry animal. You don't need to disconnect the battery unless you already need a new battery.
I would disconnect the battery, apart from that all else will be fine.
Most cars have circuits, like the clock, that consume power at all times. Disconnecting the battery stops this drain, but it won’t stop the natural discharge of the battery.
For one month I think that you are just fine without any extra precautions. But if it's for a longer period, then you may consider the following ideas.
I recommend three action points, one on them is stolen from the comment of user
- Maybe increase the air pressure in the tires by about 0.5 bar (and check the pressure of the spare tire at that opportunity).
- This helps prevent the tires from getting a flat deformation.
- In addition to the recommendation regarding the battery (disconnect the minus because it is safer from electrical point of view, typically black or sometimes blue) that was already posted.
- Disconnecting the battery will prevent that the battery slowly gets empty because there is typically always a (very) small energy consumption in a car even if it's parking. When you reconnect the battery then reverse the order. But I think that it's enough, if you just disconnect the minus and put some textile around it (it's covered with grease typically).
- Maybe you need to input a code into your radio after reconnecting the battery. If that's the case, better prepare the code before you leave so that you don't need to look for it after you return.
- Disconnecting the battery may be the single most important point regarding "being able to drive immediately after you return".
- No not use the parking-brake (if possible) because it can get stuck (especially it it's an old one).
I found an related article online from the website https://driving.ca: https://driving.ca/porsche/auto-news/news/storing-your-car-for-the-winter-follow-these-eight-tips. The topics are:
- Get things clean
- Storage places
- Fuel up (
-->Fill the fuel tank)
- Avoiding flat feet (
- Oil and water
- Maintaining a charge (
- Unwanted car guests
- Tuck and cover
A full tank of gas will minimize condensation in the fuel tank.
Lock your doors . . .
. . . and have a safe trip.
With the presumption that your vehicle is in good running condition, and has no charging system issues (like a bad alternator / battery, or an aftermarket alarm that constantly pulls 300mA,) you should have no issues electrically nor mechanically.
The main thing I can think of is to make sure that there is antifreeze in your radiator and not simply water. You don't want the water in your radiator to freeze and expand and damage the engine.
It should be fine for a month, as-is, in a covered parking garage. Make sure you disconnect all devices from power ports. Things like phones and other accessories.
I'll add an alternative. Why not take public transportation to/from the airport?
Leave your car in your garage, hooking up a battery tender if you want. Give a friend the keys and ask them to take it out once or twice before your return.
Fewer problems with vandalism/theft/odd things due to an exposed vehicle. Almost certainly less expensive than a month's worth of parking fees.
In any event, enjoy the time off!