How to keep your car roadworthy during the lockdown
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has brought with it many consequences, some more serious than others. One of them is the current police-enforced lockdown. Since the Prime Minister ordered people only to leave their homes under a list of "very limited purposes" it is normal that people are wondering how to keep your vehicle roadworthy until these restrictions are lifted.
The purpose of this article is assisting you in that regard, summarizing how you should be maintaining your car during the lockdown
Preserving your vehicle’s paint job
While it is true that washing your car doesn’t fall into the category of ‘essential reason' to be out during the lockdown, it is also true that people parking cars outside their homes are exposed to bird droppings, rain, and other agents that could potentially damage vehicle’s paint job. Not that you need to wax your car, but depending on the area where you live, you might want to wash your car every two weeks. It’s important to keep in mind social distancing while washing your car though since your health should always come first.
Checking tyre pressure
It is completely normal for tyres losing pressure over time, even if the car is parked. A partially deflated tyre might become an issue once you drive the car again since it put a lot of stress on the sidewall and thus can damage it. Our suggestion is checking tyres pressure at least once every 2-3 weeks, or sooner if you plan to drive your car. Always follow the manufacturer’s suggested pressure.
Checking brakes condition
While you are checking tyre pressure take a look at the disc brakes. Depending on the area where you live, you may notice corrosion building up in the surface. That’s normal when the vehicle is parked for long periods. Yet, the oxide can shorten the lifespan of your brake pads. Fortunately, there is a simple solution. As you will learn in the next point, starting your car regularly it’s crucial to keep it roadworthy. Since the engine will be on, apply the brakes and move your car forward and then back again. One or two meters will be enough. While at it, apply and release the handbrake several times to prevent it from sticking. This easy procedure will ensure your brakes won’t rust during the lockdown even if you live near the coast.
Keeping your engine roadworthy
As mentioned early, starting your engine regularly is very important to prevent potential damage in the long run. You can perform this action every two or three weeks depending on how old is your car. Older vehicles (5 years or more) would need starting the engine more frequently to avoid engine internals from wearing due to lack of proper lubrication. In that regard, keep an eye on the oil level and complete it as necessary.
Protecting battery longevity
This is arguably one of the most important points both for conventional petrol/diesel vehicles as well as newer hybrid/all-electric cars. Batteries, no matter how advanced their technology is, are not designed to remain inactive for long periods, as this can cause a significant loss in performance. In the case of conventional 12V batteries, you can achieve that goal by keeping your vehicle on for 30-60 minutes. The same holds true for most hybrid/EVs, however, it’s always advisable to follow manufacturers recommendations.
Along with the suggestions mentioned above, you can also try to keep your fuel tank topped up to prevent humidity and even save on tax by applying for a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) in case your vehicle is kept inside a garage. Keep in mind though, you won’t be able to drive your car legally until you tax it again.
Next steps once the lockdown is over
Motorists are encouraged to perform a thoughtful car inspection once the lockdown is over To ensure complying with MOT rules. At Paisley Autocare, we are proud of providing the best customer service and vehicle care in Paisley, Scotland. Give us a call or contact us to schedule an appointment, our friendly team will be more than happy to assist you with all your queries.