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Looking after your car during lockdown
30 July 2020
You might be keeping your car roadworthy for essential trips, worried about the impact of not driving your car at all, or interested in saving money whilst it's not in use.
Whatever the reason, we’ve outlined how you can look after your car during lockdown.
Clean your car
It sounds obvious but you’d be surprised the damage acidic bird droppings can do to paintwork. We aren’t suggesting a full wash and wax is appropriate but if the car isn’t garaged, then a quick wash and rinse would help.
Top up your fuel
A full tank will prevent condensation forming inside, which could cause issues if allowed to build up over time. Crucially, a full tank will ensure that if you do need to make an essential journey, your car is ready to go.
Check the tyre pressure
Check the tyres are fully inflated to the recommended level, especially before you first drive your car after a long period of inactivity.
Storing your car
Clean the car thoroughly inside and out and if you're storing it in a garage, make sure it's completely dry before you put it away.
Disengage the park brake
It can be beneficial to leave the vehicle with the parking brake disengaged to prevent the brakes from binding, but only do this if you're certain the car is on level ground and isn’t going to move. In an automatic, ensure the transmission is set to ‘P’ for park and if you have a manual car, put it in first gear and place wedges or chocks, if you have them, under the wheels.
Put your car keys away
If you aren’t planning to drive your car for a long time, put the smart key in a safe place and don’t carry it around with you in your pocket. This will prevent the car from ‘waking up’ unnecessarily.
Starting the car regularly
Regular start-up of the vehicle on conventional petrol and diesel engines needs approximately 20 minutes of running time to put back into the battery what you remove on start up. Therefore, to maintain the battery, running the engine for a period of time at least once a week is advised. The length of time needed to charge the battery will vary according to the make and model.
Keeping the battery charged
If you have a 12V battery trickle charger, or a solar panel, these are a good option to keep the battery fully charged while the vehicle is stationary for a period of time.
Saving on tax
Even if you’re not using it, you’ll still have to tax your car unless you remove it from the public highway and declare it off road. If the vehicle will be kept on private property (such as inside a garage) for the duration of its storage, you could consider applying for a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). You can read more information about how to SORN your car here.
If you’re driving for the first time in a while, don’t forget to do some final checks. Make sure the lights are working; ensure the windscreen doesn’t have any cracks; and top up the car’s fluid reservoirs – including oil, brake fluid and screenwash — if needed. If your car has been standing for a long time, arrange a full service once they become available.
For more advice or if you want to speak to the team about your car insurance, simply call 0800 980 2701 or visit www.suttonwinson.com/personal
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