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How long can you leave your car parked?

Whether you are getting ready for a trip abroad for work or pleasure, preparing everything can be a stressful experience. From making sure you have all of the necessary documents to ensuring you pack everything you need, there is a lot to think about. One thing people often forget to consider until the last minute is their car.

Booking the most convenient form of car parking at your chosen airport is generally fairly straightforward. However, if you’re going abroad for a prolonged period of time - say, three weeks or more - it’s important to understand what you need to do to help ensure your vehicle remains safe and, most importantly of all, in working condition during its stay in a long-term airport car park. As we discussed in our recent blog post on getting your car ready for airport parking, the last thing you want to do is return to your vehicle after a long journey to find it has a dead battery or flat tyre after being left unattended for too long.

With this in mind, to help you decide on the most suitable option for your car before heading on a long-term trip - be that long-stay car parking solutions or short stay friend/family drop off - we have put together this handy guide to answer some of your most frequently asked questions about leaving your vehicle parked up long term.

How long can you leave a car without starting it?

Unsurprisingly, the length of time a car can be left parked up without starting all depends on the condition of its battery and tyres. From a battery point of view, most modern cars with a well-maintained battery should be able to comfortably be left between two and three weeks without needing to be started up and recharged.

When it comes to tyres, so long as they are in good condition, they should be fine for as long as a month. Any longer than this, flat spots may start to appear. Interestingly, flat-spotting - when a flat spot appears in the area of the tyre that has been in contact with the ground for a prolonged period of time - is common and not always a problem. Tyre giants Continental point out that, in the majority of cases, flat-spotting is only temporary. For example, if you have left your car parked in an airport car park for a few weeks, you may notice slight flat-spotting and experience some slight vibrations during the first few miles of your journey home. However, these will typically disappear as the tyres regain their normal shape and reach their operational temperature as you drive.

This being said, it is important to still inspect all four of your car’s tyres after it has been parked up. While flat-spotting may be a minor issue, fully flat tyres, caused by previously unnoticed slow punctures for example, are not safe to drive on and will need to be changed before you can safely drive home.

How long can a car sit before the battery dies?

As we’ve mentioned above, the length of time a car battery can sit unused without dying depends on a number of factors, including the age and condition of the car and the temperature of the area in which your car is parked. However, as a rule of thumb, the average battery can sit as long as two to three weeks before needing to be recharged.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, according to the RAC, dead batteries are the most common cause of airport car park breakdowns. This is because cars have typically been left parked for a long period of time and often in cold, exposed areas.

What if my car breaks down in a car park?

You can take all the precautions in the world, but it’s a fact of life that even new, well-maintained cars occasionally break down - especially when they have been left for a period of time. So, what do you do if your car breaks down or simply won’t start in an airport car park?

If you have tried to start your car once unsuccessfully, we recommend waiting 20 minutes and then trying again. If you suspect a flat battery, this gives the power source time to build enough power to start the engine. If the battery still won’t work, or you suspect another problem may be causing the issue, the best thing to do is to call a breakdown recovery service. They will come out and meet you in the car park to assess, and with a little bit of luck, fix your car. They may only find a temporary solution designed to keep you on the road until you can make an appointment with a mechanic, however this should at least see you home.

All car parks at Liverpool John Lennon Airport feature secure electronically controlled entry and exit barriers. For this reason, it’s important to speak to a member of the car parking team if you require breakdown assistance.

Can you drop off at Liverpool Airport?

If you’re travelling from Liverpool Airport and you know you’re going to be away for a long time, you may wish to be dropped off by a friend or family member rather than leaving your own car parked up for an extended period. Here at LJLA, we offer two convenient dropping off/picking up options. The Express Drop Off and Pick Up Car Park faces the terminal and costs £4 for up to 10 mins, £10 for up to 20 minutes, £25 for up to one hour, or £50 for each 24 hour period a car stays there. This is perfect for quick drop offs.

We also operate our Drop Off 2 area which is located 400m from the main terminal. This handy spot is completely free for up to 40 minutes.