With the Coronavirus lockdown in place, millions of motorists will be leaving their cars untouched for weeks; if not longer. But this can cause all sorts of faults and problems. Here’s how to look after your car whilst it’s not in use…
Protect It From The Elements
We don’t know how long the coronavirus lockdown is going to last. But, based on government statements, it’s not going to be brief. In which case, it’s crucial that you protect your car from the elements. If you have a garage, now’s the time to clear it out and actually make use of it. It’ll keep the vehicle out of sight from criminals and protect it from the elements, whether it’s rain, sunlight or anything else. If you’re not lucky enough to have a garage, or can’t fit all of your cars in it, consider investing in a quality car cover. These are simple to fit and are the second-best thing after a garage.
Keep It Clean
Now matter where, or how, you store your vehicle it’s still going to pick up dust and grime on the outside and the inside. So, take some time, every couple of weeks, to give it a good clean. This will help to protect paint, bodywork and upholstery during lockdown. You don’t need to go mad, a simple wash down with a sponge, a subtle polish and a bit of vacuuming will go a long way. And, when this crisis finally passes, you’ll be able to take back to the roads in a fresh, comfortable and sparkling motor. Oh, it might also be worthwhile to disinfect key parts of your car, too. A bit of soap of antibacterial wash on the steering wheel, door handles and infotainment system will go a long way!
Look After The Battery
Your battery will suffer if you’re not driving your car for lengthy periods of time. Its condition will deteriorate and it’ll lose its charge. Some quality batteries come with a reconditioning option, if you have this make sure to activate it and keep it on a smart charge. If not, consider investing in a battery tender. These need to be attached to the car’s battery and a wall socket and will use an on-board processor to keep it in a good condition.
Check On The Car’s Fluids
Anyone, regardless of ability, can carry out basic maintenance checks on their vehicles. It’s important to keep an eye on your car’s fluids whilst it’s not in use, as these can quickly go bad and damage other parts of the vehicle. It’s no different during lockdown. Pay attention to your car’s oil level and check to see whether it’s still a syrup-like colour and consistency. If it looks dirty, it’s time for a change. Coolant is also important, as without enough antifreeze it can freeze radiators and cooling systems solid. If you’re still in an area that’s yet to truly escape winter, don’t neglect it. Finally, brake fluid needs proper consideration. It can absorb water, damage brake lines and cause other parts to rust. When it’s safe to do so, get a mechanic to check that yours is still working properly.
Don’t Neglect The Tyres
All tyres lose pressure over time, regardless of their quality and how well they’re looked after. So, make sure yours are at the recommended pressures; you can find these in your owner’s manual. Doing this will also make it easier to spot any punctures, rips or tears. If you want to go the extra mile, you could also buy some specialised mats to spread the weight of the vehicle over a larger area. Alternatively, you could just use some old carpet squares. Either way, it keeps your car’s tyres from sitting against cold, hard ground for weeks on end.
Save Money On Tax
Why tax your car if you’re not using it? It’s a good question, especially during lockdown. You can fill in a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) online and save some money whilst your motor sits idle. You’re even eligible to apply for a refund on the portion of your road tax you haven’t used and, further still, can modify your car insurance to reflect the fact that your car’s in storage; and not being driven. Note that you can only apply for a SORN if you’ve got somewhere off-road to store your vehicle, leaving in on the pavement isn’t sufficient.
Crank The Engine Monthly
Everyone has got a different take on when to, if ever, switch on their car’s engine when it’s not in use. Some people say that, idling your car, will simply promote poor lubrication and cause condensation. Others suggest that not cranking the engine will cause oil to seep into the sump the next time the car is driven. Our take? We’ll meet them in the middle. Disconnecting your battery tender, making sure you’re in a ventilated area, idling your car for 20 minutes once a month is sufficient. Once it’s up to temperature, give it a few revs and check that everything’s in working order. This will get the car’s fluids circulating and give its vitals a stir.
Tyre Sidewall Damage: Everything You Need To Know – https://autoserveclub.co.uk/blog/tyre-sidewall-damage-everything-you-need-to-know/
New MOT Guidelines Give Motorists And Fleets Six-Month Extension – https://www.autoservefleet.co.uk/latest-news/new-mot-guidelines-give-motorists-and-fleets-six-month-extension/