Looking after your car in lockdown

As we are plunged into yet another lockdown and many of us are now working from home or self isolating, it is likely that many vehicles will now be parked up for what will likely be a relatively long period of time. Whilst our mental and physical health will be at the forefront of our minds right now, it is also recommended that you take some time to look after the health of your vehicles during this COVID-19 lockdown so as to avoid problems for when you are ready to get back on the road. 

When cars are left parked and stationary for long periods of time, there are a variety of issues  that can arise. These are worsened by the cold, wet weather which we’re likely to be experiencing through the coming months. 

However, there are steps you can take to prevent these problems arising, ensuring your vehicle remains in good health whilst it’s not in regular use:

 

Battery and Air Conditioning

  • Try to make sure you start your car up a few times a week and allow it to run for 15 minutes, making sure to not leave it unattended as this is both dangerous and illegal. This will help your battery to stay in good working order, as it allows the coolant and fuel to circulate. Car batteries are likely to lose charge or go flat altogether if they are left to go cold (which is more likely in the weather we will likely see over the next few months!) so this will help to prolong the life of them and prevent you from needing to buy a new battery altogether when you are up and on the roads again! 
  • Whilst your vehicle is running, if you have air conditioning it’s a good idea to turn this on to help the air con fluid fresh and circulating. Switching on air-con throughout the winter is always recommended as it helps prevent problems arising that commonly  occur when drivers solely use their AC during the warmer months.
  • It would usually be suggested that you take your car for a short drive during this time, however due to the Coronavirus lockdown, this is not advised as it is not an essential journey

Tyres

  • Check your tyres have adequate pressure every week to help prevent flat spots and sidewall deterioration.
  • It is advisable to slightly over inflate your tyres if your vehicle is not in use at all as well as checking valves and valve caps to ensure there are no leaks.

Handbrake

Try to not engage your handbrake too tightly when your car is left parked up for long periods of time and make use of the gearbox holding instead of solely the handbrake itself. This is because when the handbrake is fully engaged for a long time, the brake pads can get stuck on the brake discs or drums. Leaving the vehicle in gear with the handbrake only gently engaged (and using wheel chocks if necessary) will prevent moisture in the atmosphere from sticking on your parking brake and seizing.

If you leave your vehicle standing for a long period of time then it’s inevitable that your brake discs will form a layer of rust across them. When this happens, you may hear a grinding noise when you drive your vehicle again; this is nothing to worry about and just the sound of the rust layer being worn away. It is recommended that when you do drive your vehicle for the first time, apply the brakes a couple of times to help speed up the process. If this noise does not go away after a mile or two, be sure to visit your nearest Eden Tyres & Servicing for a free brake check to allow our technicians to ensure your brakes are safe and in working order.

Cleaning & protecting your car

If you’re stuck for something to do in lockdown then why not give your car a good clean? Decluttering your car and thoroughly cleaning both the interior and exterior will make it much easier to keep germ free during essential use and much nicer to get in when you’re back on the road more regularly. Cleaning, polishing and waxing the exterior will help ensure your paint work stays in good order and is protected against moisture in the air.

As the weather becomes damper, your car will become susceptible to brake corrosion and your paintwork may be affected by wind, rain, bird mess and many other components.  If you have a garage that is large enough to store your car in, then this is always going to be the safest option. Your vehicle will be safer and cleaner and less likely to develop problems associated with the damp outdoor conditions. If this isn’t an option for you then it may be a good idea to invest in a car cover suitable for outdoor storage. These are available to buy online for all vehicle models. 

As we go into a lockdown once again, is it so important to look after yourself and your vehicle. Remember, here at Eden Tyres & Servicing, we are open throughout the lockdown ready to help you look after your car and be safe on the road!