Caring for you car during Lockdown

Try to avoid a flat battery

Try to avoid a flat battery

There is little need to worry about your car’s battery if it’s relatively new and the charging system is in good condition. Your car will still start up even if it’s been untouched for over a month. An older battery may not last as long, and a small drain can completely sap it over time.
If you have a 12V battery trickle charger, or a solar panel charger, and are confident using them, then these are a good option to keep the battery fully charged while the vehicle is stationary for a period of time.
It will keep immobilisers and other energy-sapping components from draining your battery completely.
Just keep in mind that using these devices could be impractical if your car is parked on the street as you may need to drape cables across the pavement, which can become a tripping hazard for passers-by.
If there are two cars in your household you may want to consider alternating your essential trips in them. You should also be mindful that repeated short journeys will flatten your battery faster than usual, which is even more reason to follow the government’s guidance to shop for necessities as infrequently as possible.
Most importantly, you should avoid turning your engine on, only to turn it off again shortly after.

Take Care of your Tyres

Check your Tyres

Inflate your tyres to the maximum recommended pressure found on their sidewall, as they will lose pressure over time, even if they’re not being used in motion. Driving on a semiregular basis will help ensure your tires don’t develop flat spots, and it’s a good idea to move your car (even by a few feet) every now and then if you only take it out every few weeks.

Keep up with your Car Tax & Insurance

Keep your Car Taxed and Insured

All car owners have been given a six-month MOT exemption but you’ll still need to keep your road tax and car insurance up to date to ensure your car is road legal. The only exception to this is if you make a statutory off-road notification (SORN), though if you do this, you won’t be able to use your car at all, even for essential or emergency journeys and the car must be kept off the road entirely and cannot be parked on the street.

Clean your car

Give your car a clean

Cleaning your car when using it less frequently will not only help keep it looking its best, but could prevent damage further down the road.
Waxing your car can stop tree sap, bird droppings and harsh weather leaving its mark on your paintwork, but make sure you give the car a thorough clean before applying a coat.
Cleaning the inside of the car is now more important than ever. If you’re concerned about the risk of spreading coronavirus, you can also disinfect your interior making sure you use products that will not damage the interior surfaces.
Cleaning the inside of your car is also the only way to make sure crumbs, other pieces of food and mud don’t decay or dry into the upholstery.
If your interior is left particularly dirty, it may even attract insects and vermin, leading to further damage from these unwanted tenants.

Check for spare bulbs

Check your Spare Bulbs

 
It’s a good idea to keep spare bulbs at all times. But as more shops face staff shortages and closures you might struggle to find the correct bulbs for your car at short notice.
Make sure your vehicle is roadworthy for those essential journeys by picking up spares while you have the chance. Although the coronavirus outbreak has prompted MOT exemptions, you may still be prosecuted if your car is deemed unsafe, which it will if you don’t have properly working lights.
Top up fluids

Top up and monitor the liquids in your car

You should check fluid levels to keep your engine well maintained and have your car ready to drive when you need it. Check your oil level. Consider topping up with fuel, to prevent moisture from accumulating in the tank and rust developing. Although if you intend on keeping the car off the road for a long period, keep in mind that Petrol and Diesel have a lifespan too.
Check your coolant to ensure you’re ready to drive once essential travel restrictions are lifted.
It's also a great time to top up your window wash to make sure your car is prepared for its next outing on the road.

Park in a secure place

Park it in a secure place

If your car isn't going to be moving for a while, you'll need to leave it parked somewhere safe and ideally sheltered.
A garage is usually the best choice, as it can help deter potential thieves and vandals, but will also protect your paintwork from adverse weather and other things that mother nature brings. Just be sureto dry your car thoroughly before putting it away, and make sure the garage is well ventilated too. Also putting the car in the garage means you can even leave your car in gear with chocks behind the wheels instead of using the handbrake. This will save the handbrake cable from stretching.
If you don't have a garage, then try to park somewhere shaded during the day, but well-lit at night. Trees offer protection from some types of weather but will leave your car more vulnerable to bird droppings and tree sap, which you’ll have to clean up later and can damage the paintwork. A cover will protect your car against the outside world but should only be used when it’s not obscuring a necessary parking permit.

What to do with an electric or hybrid during lockdown

Electric and Hybrid Cars during Lockdown

If you have an electric car, you obviously don’t have to worry about what’s in the fuel tank, but you will need to take simple measures to keep your battery healthy. The battery pack will lose electricity over time, even when the car is not being used, so you’ll end up with issues if you don’t keep it charged. Keep the battery’s charge between 50 percent and 70 percent at all times. Some electric cars let owners set a charging limit, so they can set it and forget it. If yours doesn’t have this feature, keep an eye on the charging level by looking at the dashboard or the app. Charging to 100 percent isn’t recommended.
For Hybrid vehicles, these usually contain two batteries: a 12-volt battery (which powers systems such as the headlamps and audio) and a high-voltage hybrid system battery (which supplies the power to start the combustion engine and drive the electric motors). The simplest way to maintain charge in both of these is to simply go through the normal start procedure. Don’t leave your car unattended when it is switched on. While the car is in ‘Ready’ mode, you may hear and feel the internal combustion engine kick in, which is a normal part of the self-charging process. You might be tempted to switch on the radio to pass the time, or turn on other systems, but these will consume small amounts of electrical power so it’s best to leave them off. Ensure the parking brake and let the car charge. There’s no need to go for a drive to charge your hybrid, but we must stress that you only do this in a well-ventilated area – something to consider if you park your vehicle in a garage.

 

 
 

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