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Can Petrol Expire? And Other Lockdown Vehicle Questions

Can Petrol Expire? And Other Lockdown Vehicle Questions

With lockdown in full swing, we’re seeing a lot less traffic on the roads. But not using your car for extended periods of time doesn’t mean that it doesn’t require maintenance, according to Nunben Dixon, Head of Gumtree Auto. “There are a few things you have to remain cognizant of to ensure your car is in good condition when lockdown lifts and you become more mobile.”

Keep the Tank Full

Petrol does have a shelf life of about six months and can go off. If you are working from home and not using your car, you can prevent oxidization by keeping the tank full. You’ll be able to tell that petrol has gone “off” by the smell. “There are also excellent fuel stabilizers on the market that can extend shelf-life for up to two years. Alternatively, you can drain the tank and keep your petrol in a clean, plastic container to avoid spoilage inside the tank.”

Check your tyres

Tyres will lose air, especially in cold weather. If your car stands still on underinflated tyres, permanent flat spots can form which you will be able to hear and feel when you drive. “The optimum tyre pressure should be indicated on a sticker on the driver side door. Make a habit of checking pressure regularly, even if you aren’t driving.”


Storage becomes especially important when your car is standing still. “Rats and mice can easily take up residence in your engine or exhaust. If you are storing your car in a garage, make sure you don’t have a pest problem.”

Wash the car

Even if you aren’t driving the car, a wipe down is important. “Bugs, tree sap and pollen can corrode the paint job and lead to rust. Washing your car is a great way to maintain the finish and discover small dents, rust spots and scratches that you may not be otherwise aware of.”


The average car can remain parked for two weeks to a month without the battery dying, depending on the make and model, the age of battery and the climate. “Batteries lose their charge over time. Your car uses power even when its parked. It’s best to drive a car at least once a week – not idling it, driving it – for about 10km at a time. If you are not planning on using your car for a few months, you could disconnect the battery negative cable altogether to prevent the electrical system from drawing power from the battery.”