With much of the world in isolation or lockdown at the moment you may not be using your car half as much (if at all). But how can you maintain it so it is ready to go when everything returns to normal. Here are some simple tips to keep your car in a good condition.
Firstly do not break the lockdown rules to look after your car. Some of this maintenance includes running your engine or moving your car but be cautious to make sure you are following the government guidelines. You can check these guidelines here.
Keep an eye on your brakes
Did you know that if your car is left untouched for a while your brake discs could start to corrode? This can cause you all sorts of issues such as the brakes completely seizing which will need mechanical attention and the handbrake getting sticky.
To avoid both issues we would suggest (but only if it’s safe to do so) rolling your car back and forth for a couple of metres, every so often, this will also help your tyres not get flat spots. If you keep your car on a flat drive or a garage we would suggest leaving your handbrake off to avoid any stickiness. However, you must not do this if you park your car on a public road or car park or if there is a slight slope as your car will roll and cause damage.
Keep your battery maintained
If it is possible to invest in a trickle charger or a mains-powered battery maintainer you will find your battery in top condition when you come to use it again. This, however, is not possible for everyone to do. If you cannot connect your car to the mains then we would suggest turning your car on at least once a week and leave it running for 15 minutes, or even better take it out for a 20-minute car journey. Try not to start your car up in quick succession as this will drain the battery.
Even though MOTs have been extended for six months, if you are still driving your car you will need to make sure that your car is road worthy. This includes checking the following;
- Making sure your tyres have the correct tread depths and are at the correct pressures. You can check this by putting a 20p coin in the groove of the tyre, if you can see the outer band of the coin then the treads are too low. You can find what your tyre pressures should be in the handler’s manual
- All lights must be working for your vehicle to be road legal. You can easily check this by asking a member of your household to stand in front or behind your car and turn all your lights on. Alternatively, you can park next to a reflective surface and check your lights this way.
- You will need to check that all fluids are at least at the minimum recommended level. This included your oil, water, screen-wash, coolant and brake fluid.
Looking after your fuel tank
Leaving a fuel tank un-used for weeks on end can be harmful to the car. Over time petrol and diesel deteriorate which can cause condensation coming from the air in the fuel tank but, the fuller the tank, the less air in it that causes the problems. So, if you can safely fill up your car this would be great, but do not make a non-essential trip just to get petrol.
Do I need car insurance if I’m not driving?
You will still need car insurance. Since 2011 you have needed car insurance for owning a car with only one exception. If you keep your car on private land you can declare it being off the road and get it SORN (statutory off-road notification). This cancels your vehicle tax and therefore doesn’t need insuring.
So, however you’re using your car at the moment we hope that these tips and tricks have been helpful to you and you are staying safe and well.