Many UK residents are currently working from home or have been furloughed and are no longer using their cars for the daily commute. The current lockdown across the country means that many motorists have not driven their vehicles for almost a month.
But whilst this is certainly saving on fuel costs, could leaving your car undriven for a long period cause damage to the vehicle?
Since we are advised against all but essential travel, here are some quick tips to keep your car in top condition if you are laying it up for the lockdown period.
The last thing you need when you can finally make a car journey again is a flat battery. During lockdown, it is advisable to invest in a trickle-charger that automatically charges the battery until it is full and then adds a little boost when necessary.
It’s worth taking the time to keep your battery topped up, because no one wants to be searching the garage for jump leads when we can make non-essential journeys.
Start the engine
Using a car infrequently is bad for its health. If your car has been sitting on the driveway for a couple of weeks, it is advisable to start the engine and allow it to warm up. If you can move the car (even a few metres) and touch the brakes as you do so, this will help prevent them from seizing up.
Keep it clean
Cleaning your car is part of good car maintenance – and gives you a project to do whilst you are at home. A car that has been standing for a period of time will gather dust, so it’s important to make sure the windscreen, windows and lights have been thoroughly cleaned before you start to use the car regularly.
Keep the interiors of the car clean as well. Now is the time to vacuum under the seats and use warm soapy water on the plastic parts of the car to leave it feeling sanitised and fresh. For leather and upholstery make sure to use specialist cleaning products.
What if my MOT is due?
The Government has announced that UK motorists have been automatically afforded a six-month extension to their MOTs. The extension applies to cars, motorcycles and light vans, and states that any MOT due from March 30th will qualify. However, vehicles must be kept roadworthy – and garages are remaining open for essential repair works – and you can still be prosecuted if your vehicle is deemed unsafe
“We must ensure those on the frontline of helping the nation combat Covid-19 are able to do so,” commented Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. “Allowing this temporary exemption from vehicle testing will enable vital services such as deliveries to continue, frontline workers to get to work, and people get essential food and medicine.”