A few tips on being able to maintain your car during lockdown!
If you are concerned about the impact of not driving at all or you want to keep your car road worthy for essential journeys, here are some maintenance tips to help you through the coronavirus lockdown.
For many people during the lockdown their cars will be sat parked for extended periods of time. This can result in the car not working properly when you come to drive it. Here are some sensible tips to ensure your car will remains both safe and legal.
1. Brake Maintenance
Corrosion can occur if car brake discs are left for a while. This can lead to the brakes sticking or seizing entirely. To prevent this from happening, roll your car back and forth a few metres every so often (if safe to do so)
2. Battery Maintenance
Electrical items such as security devices running in the background can drain the battery when the car is switched off. Start your car once a week and let it run for around 15 minutes. This will not only give the battery time to increase its charge, but will also circulate fuel and oil around the engine. The air conditioning should also be turned on at the same time to prevent mould developing in the air circulation system.
3. Keeping your car roadworthy
MOTs which had been due from 30 March 2020 have been given a six-month extension on having this test done. However, car owners are still expected to keep their vehicles in a safe and roadworthy condition.
- Check oil, brake fluid, screen-wash and engine coolant to ensure they’re at least at minimum recommended levels.
- Check your brakes when first setting off to ensure they’re working properly. If they make a crunching or grinding noise for the first mile or so they may have built up corrosion. If this persists you may have warped brake discs.
- Check that all of your lights are working properly. Ask someone to help you with this if possible or park in front of a reflective surface such as a window and you’ll be able to see the lights in your mirrors.
- Check tyres are properly inflated. Under-inflated tyres can affect the braking performance and increase fuel consumption. You can find the recommended tyre pressures for your model in the owner’s handbook.
- Check that tyres have sufficient tread depth and no defects. The minimum legal tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm. Check by inserting a 20p piece into a tyre groove. If the outer band of the coin is not obscured by the treadblock, they are too low and illegal to use.
4. Maintain your tax and insurance
While all car owners have been given a six-month MOT exemption, you will still need to keep your road tax and car insurance up to date to ensure your car is road legal. If you have off-road parking and declare your car as SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) you won’t be able to use your car at all even for essential or emergency journeys. If you have to leave your car on the street, park in as safe a place as possible.