Maintaining Your Car Whilst In Lockdown Or If Unused
If your car has been sitting for a long period of time without being driven, it will affect your car’s performance. Here are some suggestions you should take into consideration and be aware of issues that might arise. Good maintenance should be performed on your vehicle to ensure it will operate properly when needed.
Taking Care Of Your Battery & Brakes
Anyone who has ever experienced losing their brakes while driving knows how frightening that is. People who have experienced this, know how critical it is to care for and keep brakes in good condition. If your brakes have not been used for quite some time, the brake discs will begin to corrode. Left unattended, your brakes will seize up requiring a mechanic to make repairs. Once in a while, you can help by rolling your car back and forth a few metres but only if it’s safe. Also, moving your car back and forth will protect your tyres from developing flat spots.
If your brakes start to erode it can cause your handbrake to freeze up as well. Consider parking your vehicle on a flat surface that sits on level ground. If so, you probably should not use your handbrake as it can make your vehicle immobile. In this situation, your better option would be leaving your car in gear. This option is only for parking on level ground with a flat surface. If you are parked on a slope or on a public road, there’s a risk of someone hitting your car.
Another important step is maintaining and caring for your battery. If your car will be sitting for more than a week or two, pay attention to how your battery is operating. Keep in mind, your car’s immobiliser and alarm are leading culprits for draining your battery very quickly. If you park your car in a private, safe area, consider getting a battery maintainer or charge to keep your battery in good working condition and have your mechanic check it from time to time to find out when it should be changed out.
About once a week, run a lead to your car, start your car up, and let it run for approximately 15 minutes. This will allow your battery to totally recharge and circulate the oil fuel around the engine. This will prevent the engine from flooding in petrol cars.
While your car is running, turn on the air conditioning to help maintain the seals in the unit and prevent mould from developing in the system.
Never, ever repeatedly turn your car on and off. Remember, the starter motor needs power from the battery each time you start your car. Starting and stopping your car will not restore your battery until it’s given time to recharge. Never, ever leave your car unattended when it’s turned on and running.
Also, if you allow your battery to totally drain, you run the risk of damaging it. The acid in the battery will turn into crystals on the lead. Under normal circumstances, these crystals are removed as the battery is used. On the other hand, if the batter is not being used, the crystals will remain on the lead and permanently reduce the charge the battery can hold. If your battery is getting old, you will probably have problems turning your car over. Replace it as soon as possible.
Keeping Your Car Safe On The Road
If you own a car, a motorcycle, or a van, you probably have MOTs due but have been given a six-month extension for testing, you are still expected to keep your vehicle safe on the road.
If you are driving, here are some important thoughts to keep you safe:
Always check your car’s fluid levels including the oil, engine coolants, and brake fluid to guarantee the levels are correct. Also, ensure your screen is clean for viewing everything around you.
Before getting on the road, apply your brakes, gently, to make sure they are working properly. If you experience crunching or grinding, you might have a build-up of corrosion within the first mile or 2. If this continues or you feel a vibration from your pedal, you might have warped brake discs. You should get to a mechanic as quickly as possible and get them checked out.
Also, before taking off, make sure your lights are working properly. Ask someone to help you check the brake lights when placing pressure on the brakes. If you don’t have someone to help, park in front of a window then test your lights in your rearview mirror.
Inspect your tyres for the right tread depth and there are no defects. For your information, in the UK the minimum legal tread depth should be 1.6 mm. This is very easy to check by placing a 20p coin into the groove. If the outer band of the coin is hidden by the tread block, your tyres are way too low and not considered legal to drive.
Always check your tyres for proper inflation. If not inflated properly, you will use up too much fuel and it will affect the performance of the brakes. Take advantage of your car’s manual to ensure you have your tyres at the correct inflation level.
Many newer vehicles have a monitor for tyre pressure, giving you a warning that your tyre pressure is low. You can check your tyre pressure at your local petrol station or you can go online a purchase a pressure gauge from many retailers including Amazon.
If you don’t know, many garages are allowed to remain open for essential repairs so you will always have an avenue to make sure your car is roadworthiness. It’s always good practice to get your vehicle checked in a timely manner. Also, many garages offer a free vehicle health check. Take advantage of free checks once you are back on the rod to prevent any serious issues.
Make Sure You Have Your Tax & Insurance Up To Date
You are responsible for keeping your road tax and car insurance up-to-date in order to remain legal on the roads.
There is one exception, the statutory off-road notification or SORN. If you do have this option, you will not be allowed to drive your car even for essential or emergency trips. You can claim back the value of any full months of taxes remaining on your vehicle and you will not be obligated to insure it.
On the flip side, this option is not available for those who have access to off-road parking. If you don’t have this option, make sure you park your car in a safe place but do not use your handbrake. You can leave your car in gear if you have a manual gearbox. If your car is parked on a slope, use the handbrake.
Overall, keep up with your car’s maintenance, check your manual for any issues you might be experiencing, and go to your local mechanic for any problems you are experiencing.
If you need more information, or you would like to book your car in at one of our local branches in , , or our Van Centre please get in touch, use the booking form below or give us a call onOldham – 0161 624 5060, Bury – 0161 761 3030, Van Centre Oldham – 0161 628 5270. We also offer a highly convenient Collect & Return service or a courtesy car so you’re routine is disrupted as little as possible while your vehicle is serviced.
Arranging Your Service
Drop your car off
Simply drop your car off with us between 8am and 10am and in most cases your vehicle will be ready for collection the same day between 3.30 and 5.30. Outside these hours you are welcome to park.
Wait with your car
Most servicing and repair work can be done while you wait. If this is your preference we have a superb waiting area equipped with free hot and cold drinks and a interesting viewing area where you can watch our trained technicians working on your vehicle.
If your vehicle needs to stay with us for 1 day or longer then you are able to pre-book one of our courtesy vehicles to keep you mobile.
Pick up / drop off
The ultimate hassle free solution; one of our drivers will arrange to collect your vehicle from your home or place of work at a pre-arranged time and then return your vehicle when the work is complete. Our service advisors will contact you when the vehicle arrives on site during the day to discuss the progress of the work and then advise you of the time you can expect your vehicle back. Contact our service advisors for more details.