Stay at Home Tips – Part 2

Stay at Home Tips - Part 2

The importance of keeping your vehicle safe while it is off the road

While most people are currently staying at home and only venturing out for basic shopping or for getting to essential jobs, many of us will find our vehicles lying idle for prolonged periods.

Of course, it’s only sensible that we shouldn’t be heading out for day trips and joy rides at the moment but leaving a vehicle unused for a long time can have a negative effect.

So, to help protect vehicles that might be used little or not at all for the foreseeable future below are our top tips to help you keep your vehicle roadworthy during the coronavirus lockdown.

It’s a good idea to keep your vehicle protected from the elements if it’s not going to be used for a long period of time.

If possible, parking in a garage will protect the vehicle from damage caused by exposure to bad weather. When parking in a garage, ensure it’s free from humidity and damp as this can corrode paintwork and cause mould.

If you are unable to park in a garage,– which most drivers won’t be able to – instead invest in a quality cover. Make sure you buy one that’s been designed for your vehicle model or type. However, avoid using a cover if you’re parking in a garage, as this will ensure any moisture that is left inside the vehicle will evaporate faster.

People tend to leave various types of rubbish in their vehicles – wrappers, old water bottles and so on. If left for long periods, it could attract rodents that can damage floor mats, seat covers and even wiring. So, clean the interior thoroughly and spray a little air freshener.

Your vehicle interior can be a petri dish for dangerous microorganisms, including the coronavirus. Give the interior a spring clean while you’re in lockdown. It’ll stave off bad odours that you don’t want to smell on your return – and prevent damage to cabin materials.

Using a sunny day to air the vehicle can really help as well. It’s surprising how quickly damp, and eventually mould, can build up in a vehicle that doesn’t move. Put some moisture-absorbing silica gel in there for good measure.

If your vehicle is going to be sitting for a longer period of time than usual, tyres might slowly lose a significant amount of pressure, and if the vehicle is sat on flat tyres for a prolonged period of time it can structurally damage them.

Before leaving the vehicle, ensure the tyres are fully inflated. If you are able to, regularly check the pressures and top up as required.

If a vehicle is left for a significant amount of time with the handbrake on, the mechanical components are at risk of fusing together. In order to prevent this, it is advised to occasionally release the handbrake and move the vehicle backwards and forwards.

Most healthy vehicle batteries should be able to start a vehicle after a couple of weeks standing. But, with the lockdown measures likely to be in place still for some weeks, it may be worth investing in a trickle charger, to keep the battery topped up and prevent damage from neglect.

If possible, regularly start the vehicle and allow the engine to run so as to recharge the battery. Take care not to do so in a closed environment, such as a garage, as exhaust fumes are toxic.

Electric vehicles:

In case of electric or mild hybrid vehicles, it is important to turn the ignition and let engine idle for about 15-30 minutes once every week.

During the coronavirus outbreak, basic maintenance of your vehicle is more important than ever. This is mainly because, although some mechanics are staying open, MOTs have been given a ‘holiday’. This means any vehicle for which the MOT was due to expire from April 1st will be given a six-month extension.

Because of this, it falls to you to make sure your vehicle maintains a certain level of upkeep. For a start, your tyres must be in good condition, with no cuts, nicks or cracks visible. Legally, the tread must be at least 1.6mm deep.