How motorists can maintain and look after their cars during lockdown

We are all living in completely unprecedented times; no one could have expected at the start of this year that we’d be looking at spending potentially three months at home due to an outbreak of a very contagious and harmful virus. This current coronavirus lockdown has had a substantial impact on daily life. I personally used to drive my car every day, to and from work, to the shops, out to dinner with friends etc.

However, the UK government has requested that motorists limit the use their cars only for essential travel. We know that cars are designed to be driven, and this has left many drivers around the country questioning whether not driving their cars is going to be detrimental to the health of the vehicles themselves. Keeping your car in good condition is essential to ensuring its smooth running and reliability, and can help to reduce the risk of breakdowns and accidents and reduce the risk of an accidents.

To help keep your car in top shape, we’ve partnered with car dealership Brindley Group to compile a helpful list of tips on how to look after your car during the coronavirus lockdown.

Maintain your car battery

It’s crucial to maintain your car’s internal battery – even if you’re not driving. Did you know that even when the car’s switched off, electrical items running in the background (such as security devices) can drain the battery?

We suggest that you start up your vehicle and let the engine run for around 15 minutes once a week to stop your battery going flat.

Look after your brakes

We know that if your car is left undriven for a while, the brake discs can begin to corrode. Ultimately this can lead to the brakes seizing entirely, which is of course dangerous.

To prevent this from happening, we suggest taking your car on a short drive down your road and breaking a few times. Not only will this help preserve your break discs, it will also help prevent your tyres from developing flat spots. It is important to get your car moving once a week or where you can, as corrosion of brake discs as can also cause the handbrake to stick.

Ensure fluids are at the right levels

It is very important to ensure all automotive fluids are at the recommended levels. For example, if you had an emergency and needed to get somewhere quickly, you would want to make sure your car can start or run properly. Make sure to check all fluid levels including oil, engine coolant, brake fluid and screen-wash to ensure they’re at least at minimum recommended levels.

Check your lights

Likewise, it is important to ensure all your lights are working properly. To maintain your lights, we advise getting into your car, starting the engine and turning on your lights and breaking a few times just to double check they’re all working.

You will need to ask someone to help you with this, as you won’t be able to see your break lights by yourself. If you live alone, rather than putting yourself at risk by interacting with individuals outside of your household, we suggest trying to park in front of a reflective surface, such as a window, where you’ll be able to see the lights in your mirrors.

Checking tyre pressure and treads

With your new-found free time, you can check that tyres have sufficient tread depth and no defects. The minimum legal tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm. You can easily check by inserting a 20p piece into a tyre groove. If the outer band of the coin is not obscured by the tread block, they’re too low and illegal to use.

If your tyres are at the legal depth you should think about how you can maintain them. Make sure they’re properly inflated so they can maintain proper grip and are road-safe.

Look over your documentation

All car owners have been given a six-month MOT exemption; this is to keep garages free for essential repairs. However, you’ll still need to keep your road tax and car insurance up to date to ensure your car is road legal. Use time at home to dig out your documentation and ensure that everything is up-to-date and as it should be.

We hope that these tips have been useful for keeping your vehicle in top condition while it’s not in use. For more helpful advice and guidance, check out our other articles.

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