With lockdowns, it’s hard to stay up on things you want to get done. It’s possible your car has been sitting in your driveway or in the garage for way too long which can harm its performance.
Take Care Of Your Battery And Brakes
If your car has been sitting idle for a while and you do not check your brakes, the discs will start to corrode and at some point, you will need a mechanic to repair them. You can help protect your brakes by rolling the car back and forth a few meters once in a while. Keep in mind, if your discs corrode, your handbrake can freeze up. Also, rolling your car will prevent damage to your tyres. If you can find a flat, level place to park your car just make sure you do not apply the handbrake. You should never park your car in a public place where another care could hit yours.
Taking care of your battery is another important thought. If your car will go unattended for more than a week or two, your battery could start draining. If you are parked in a safe place, you might consider getting a battery charger to keep it well charged and working properly. Again, keep in mind where you are parked and whether it’s safe.
If you are parked where you can not hook up a charger, you should start your car at least once a week and let it run for approximately 15 minutes. It will recharge the battery as well as circulate the oil and fuel around the engine. This will prevent the engine from flooding. While running your car, turn on the air conditioning to prevent the seals from building mould in the system.
Your starter also needs battery power each time you start your engine so do not get in the practice of turning your car on and off, repeatably. You are adding to your battery losing power. Also, never ever leave your car unattended while its running.
Treat your battery with respect. If you totally drain your battery you are running the risk of damaging it permanently.
Keep Your Car In Good Road Condition
Possibly you have a MOTs due but have been given 6 months to get thee test performed, you still have a responsibility to keep your car in good road condition at all times. This goes for cars, motorcycles, vans, etc.
If you have to drive, please read through this information to stay on top of valuable information.
Check the level of your oil, engine coolants, brake fluids, and make sure your windscreen is clean and will meet all local requirements. If by some chance you have a build-up of corrosion, you will experience crunching or grinding for a few miles. If this continues or you experience vibrations from the pedals your discs might be warped. You should get to a mechanic and have this checked out as quickly as possible.
Another important step, check your lights, brake lights, and turn signals. If you can, get someone to help out to check all the lights by walking around the car as you apply each one. If you don’t have someone, park in front of a window and watch the lights and signals in your rearview mirror.
Check your tyres to ensure they are safe for the road, have the required tread depth and there are no defects or foreign items stuck to them.
If you don’t know, in the UK the minimum legal band width is 1.6mm. This is really easy to check, take a coin and place it in the groove. If you can still see the coin, your tyres are too low and not in good condition for the road.
Always check your tyres inflation Under inflated tyres will burn up fuel and effect your brakes performance. You should read through your owner’s manual or handbook to make sure your tyres have the right pressure.
The newer tyres come with pressure monitors. You will be alerted when the pressure drops. Stop by your local petrol station and get them checked. Also, consider buying a pressure gauge at a store by you or you can get one on Amazon or other online retailers.
Many garages are allowed to stay open for essential repairs. If you are concerned about your car’s road worthiness, get your car checked out as soon as you can. For peace of mind, many garages are now offering free vehicle health checks so take advantage of these offers, to prevent issues, once you are back on the road again.
Make Sure You Are Up To-Date-On Your Tax & Insurance
Even though car owners have been given a 6-month MOT extension, stop by a garage to get any essential repairs taken care of. You are responsible for keeping your tax and insurance up-to-date or you will not be legal driving on the roads.
There is an exception to the rule. If you have a statutory off-road notification, known as SCORN. You are not allowed to use your car even for essential or emergency trips. To help out, you can claim back the value of your full months of taxes remaining on the car so it will no longer be obligated to remain insured.
The downside, this option is not available for those who do not have access to off-road parking, you will have to leave your car on the road. Make sure you park in a safe area and do not use your handbrake. Do not leave your car in gear if you have a manual car parked on a slope, use your handbrake.
In A Nutshell
These are trying times, on top of that, you want to ensure your vehicle is operating properly and given the maintenance it requires so when you can eventually drive it again, it’ll be ready.
Following some good practices and sound advice should help out a great deal. If you are required to drive, make sure your car is in top-notch condition keep an eye out for any signs of issues. If you find problems, get your car to a garage at your very earliest convenience.
Lowton Motor Company Birchwood in Warrrington have 25+ years experience of taking care of vehicles. If you’re having issues because your vehicles has sat unused for a longer than usual length of time our friendly staff can help with advice.