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How to maintain your car during lockdown

Added: 18 January 2021

Ice scraping frozen windscreen

How to maintain your car during lockdown

Keeping your car in good condition is essential to make sure it runs smoothly and reduces the risk of accidents.

Unless you’re required to drive for reasons outlined by the government you should avoid using your car as much as possible for the time being. This means many cars are sat, parked for extended periods of time. There are measures you can take to ensure your car remains safe and legal.

How to maintain a car battery

Start your car at least once a week and let it run for around 15 minutes, this allows the battery to charge. Avoid turning the car on and off in quick succession, as the starter motor requires battery power it will use more power and won’t give the battery time to charge. Never leave cars unattended when running

Driving your car weekly will not just help the battery charge, it will prevent flat spots forming on tyres and prevent mechanical parts drying out by allowing various fluids that lubricate the engine, brakes, gearbox to circulate. Turn the air conditioning on for a few minutes to maintain the seals and prevent mould from developing in the system.

Keep your car roadworthy so it’s ready when you need to drive

  • Check oil, engine coolant, brake fluid and screen wash levels regularly, ensuring they’re at the minimum recommended levels
  • Check all lights are working properly and replace any bulbs as required
  • Check tyres (including the spare) have sufficient tread depth and no defects. Tyre tread should be above the legal minimum of 1.6mm. This can be tested with a 20p, the outer edge of the coin is 2mm.
  • Check tyres are properly inflated. Under inflated tyres increase fuel consumption and affect braking performance
  • Look for signs of animal visitors, check under bonnet and around wheels as they are attractive nesting areas for small rodents
  • Top up fuel to prevent moisture from accumulating in the tank

Give your car some TLC

Stuck for ways to keep busy in lockdown, waxing your car prevents damage from both the weather and birds, while removing mud from tyres and wheels helps prevent corrosion. Cleaning inside will help to stop the production of unwanted bacteria. Just make sure not to leave radio or lights on while cleaning your car as it could result in a flat battery

When you start driving again

If it’s been a few weeks since your car was last driven ideally let it run for at least a minutes before setting off so oil can circulate properly and ensure the mechanical parts are lubricated. Don’t use wipers on a dry windscreen as grit or dirt may have accumulated which could cause damage to the windscreen.

Your brakes may be noisy at first as it's common for rust to develop on the brake discs when the car hasn’t been used for a while. It should resolve itself after they been applied a few times. If this doesn’t happen you will need to get your car checked out to see if there is a more serious issue

If there are any unusual noise or the car feels different when you get back behind the wheel it may be best to get it checked over to make sure it is safe. Our service centres are still open, and we can get you back out on the road in a safe and roadworthy vehicle.

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