To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the government has issued advice to ‘stay home and stay safe’, and only use your vehicle for essential reasons. For millions of non-key workers up and down the country working from home or furloughed, their cars will be clocking up far fewer miles than normal without a daily commute.
COVID-19 conditions mean many cars will be sitting on a driveway unmoved and untouched. In these times – where safe and possible - it’s key to care for your car so that you’re not left stranded on your driveway once it’s safe to return to work or needed for essential travel.
We’ve put together this handy guide to give your car some TLC whilst it’s not in use. Of course, only carry these out where it is safe to do and doesn’t require a special journey. If any of these cannot be done safely, wait until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Depending upon circumstances, there’s a few options to help keep your battery charged during COVID-19, so that your car starts when you need it:
Disconnecting your battery will prevent it from going flat whilst your car isn’t being used as you stay at home. If you’re unsure of how to disconnect a battery safely this will help.
This will slowly add charge to your battery, keeping it from depleting whilst it’s sat not being used. These are often used by vehicle owners accustomed to having vehicles stored for a long period of time in a garage or undercover and require a source of electricity close-by for the charger to work.
If you are unable to do either of the above options to keep your battery charged, we’d recommend starting your car once or twice weekly to keep the battery topped-up and ensure everything is still running smoothly whilst it isn’t in use.
Simply start your car out of gear with the handbrake firmly on and leave it running for between 5-10 minutes. This won’t drastically alter the amount of battery charge in modern vehicles, but older cars will benefit from doing this. For health and safety, ensure you always stay with the vehicle.
For peace of mind, ensure nothing is left running in your car when you leave it. There would be nothing worse than being unable to start the car when you need it because a sidelight has been left on or a door hasn’t been closed properly.
Instead of leaving your car in neutral with the handbrake on put it in gear instead - first on flat, reverse on a slope. Opting to leave your car in gear will act as a fail-safe in case your handbrake failed when left engaged for a long period of time.
Staying in the same spot for more than a week can result in a flat spot on your tyres. To avoid this, move your vehicle back or forward slightly once weekly.
Whilst you are by your vehicle, take the time to inspect your tyres. Check your tyres are correctly inflated and they aren’t showing any signs of any problems.
Where possible, make use of a garage or car cover to help protect your car whilst you aren’t using it as normal. This is especially important for protecting the paintwork if you typically park near to a tree, or somewhere that often results in bird droppings on your car.
Chances are during lockdown, with more time available, you’ve cleaned the house from top to bottom and back to the top again! Now it’s time to get to work on your car.
Provided it is safe to do so and hasn’t recently been done, we recommend giving your car a thorough spring clean. If you’ve driven on salty roads, a good shampoo wash will help remove the salt build-up and minimise its corrosive effects on your bodywork.
Of course, cleanliness is especially key during these times. Therefore, pay extra attention to the interior and key contact points such as the steering wheel, gear stick, handbrake, indicator stalk, infotainment system and other often forgotten areas such as seatbelts, doors and trims where bacteria can thrive. For COVID-19 government guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings please click here.
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