The lockdown has taken thousands of motorists off the road and left many cars on driveways, in garages and at the side of the road.
It’s important to keep your car parked if you don’t need to use it for essential purposes. We don’t know how long the lockdown will last, so it’s a good idea to prepare your car for storage.
Protecting your car
If you have a garage at your disposal, clear some space and stick your car in there to minimise the risk of it becoming covered in moss, dirt, bird mess or – worse – rust. As an alternative, a variety of car covers are available online; these can protect your car from the worst of the elements.
Don’t forget to clean your car thoroughly before putting it under any sort of cover and protect the paintwork.
Tyres and Brakes
Your car should ideally be on flat ground with the handbrake off (this might sound strange, but you really don’t want it to seize up). A good pair of wheel chocks will stop your car rolling away. You could even raise your car off the ground entirely with a set of axle stands and prevent your tyres from developing flat spots.
It’s also worth remembering that brake discs corrode quickly when not in use, so double-check them before getting back on the road.
If you’re not driving your car, it will be the battery that fails you first. You might notice your car is slower to start when you get back in it, and that’s because your battery has been slowly discharging since the car was last driven.
Batteries really dislike the cold, so we’re lucky (in a way) that the weather has been warm in recent weeks because this means you don’t need to worry about buying a battery warmer.
Using your car for any regular essential shopping trips will keep up the battery’s charge, provided the supermarket is a few miles away, but if you’re walking to grab your groceries, invest in a trickle charger and leave your car plugged into the mains while it’s not in use.
Oil (and Coolant)
When storing your car, you only need to change the engine oil if it won’t be driven again for at least a couple of months. Used motor oil contains chemicals and additives that can damage mechanical components over time, so it’s best to swap it out for some clean fluid before hanging up your keys. Also start your car occasionally to allow the oil to circulate around the engine.
The same goes for coolant, which should be replaced before storage. Take care to add the right amount of antifreeze according to your car’s handbook.
Filling your tank will prevent a build-up of air and prolong the life of your fuel, but a decent fuel stabiliser can keep things fresh for up to twelve months. When the time comes to finally drive again, make sure to check your fuel lines and seals for any signs of fatigue or dryness.
Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF)
If you own a newer diesel car, it’s likely fitted with a diesel particulate filter (DPF), which removes harmful substances from the exhaust. In normal use, these clean themselves in a regenerative process that takes place when the engine is running at above 2500rpm for a prolonged period.
Your DPF could get clogged up with soot if you’re using it for repeated short journeys. The best course of action with a modern diesel car is to avoid using it if you’re able to walk to the shops and then go for a big motorway blast when the lockdown ends.
Aside from the health of your car, there’s the escalated risk of theft or criminal damage that goes with leaving it parked and unused.
Leave your car fully locked and in a well-lit area to deter any would-be thieves. A good steering lock would be a sound investment too because it’s as much of a deterrent as it is an obstacle, as is a visible dashcam.
If you drive a new car, there’s a good chance it’s equipped with keyless entry, so keep your car keys in a Faraday pouch and well away from any windows or the front door.
Booking your next MOT with Segensworth Automobiles
We highly recommend pre-booking your next MOT in advance to make sure that your car is road legal for when you need it most.
The Department of Transport may have introduced MOT exemption for 6-months but the safety and security of your vehicle are still important.
Segensworth Automobiles are here to support you and your vehicle with our no-contact MOT collection and delivery service. You can book your MOT online, here: