looking after your car during lock-down
11 May 2020
/ Andrew Burgess
If you are going away for a prolonged period of time or if you are following the government advice during the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, then you are probably not using your car. This guide will help you to ensure that you are looking after your car during lock down.
If you can, you should be starting the car at least once a week for around 15 minutes, to help to maintain the battery and engine. There is more to do than just this, keep reading to find out how to make sure that your car is running smoothly when you need to use it again.
Battery and engine maintenance
The easiest way to keep your battery charged is to run your car for around 15 minutes at least once a week. This will re-charge the battery and help keep the engine in good condition by circulating the oil around the moving parts of engine. It is important to allow the engine to run for this long so the battery can properly charge up.
** Please remember to NEVER leave your car unattended with the engine running and NEVER leave the engine running in an enclosed space like a garage.
If for any reason you are unable to run the engine for 15 mins a week, then you can get a mains-powered battery maintainer from somewhere like Amazon. Theses keep your battery topped up but they will not help with engine maintenance.
When a car is parked up for a long period with the parking / hand brake on, the brakes can seize. To prevent this, it is a good idea to release the brake and move the vehicle a few metres forward and back about once a week. It is best to do this while running the engine for battery and engine maintenance. You should not leave the parking / hand brake off unless the vehicle is parked on private land with the wheels secured to prevent any chance of the car moving.
Topping up with fuel is strongly advised for cars that are parked up for long periods of inactivity. The main reason for doing this is to prevent condensation in the fuel tank. Condensation can cause serious problems over time if it builds up. In addition, if you need to use the car in an emergency, it is ready to use straight away.
Before driving the car after a long period parked up, you should check all the tyres pressures to ensure that they are correct. Read our advice on tyre pressures and why having the correct pressure in your tyres is vital for driving safely and efficiently.
Tax, Insurance and MOT
Your car must be insured, have valid tax and an MOT if it is on a road. Even if it is just parked on the side of the road and is not being used. If your MOT was due on, or after, 30th March 2020 (until 1st August) the MOT date has been automatically extended by 6 months due to the coronavirus. Tax and insurance are unaffected by the outbreak and should be arranged as usual to ensure that your car is legal, even if it is just parked up and not being used for a prolonged period.
The only way you do not need tax, insurance and an MOT is if the vehicle has a valid Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN), is parked on private land and is not being used on the roads. Otherwise, you need all of them to remain legal.
If you have any doubts, give us a call
If you have any doubts about anything mentioned in this article, give us a call and ask for advice on what you should do. If you would like us to take a look at your car, or you would like us to physically take a look at something arrange to drop your car in and we will help you out.