The vast majority of us are in lockdown around the UK at the moment, staying home and doing our best to prevent the spread of the virus. For many of us, this means that we’re not taking our cars off the driveway, possibly for days or weeks at a time.
Leaving our car like this for longer periods of time can have a detrimental effect and potentially cause some problems later, so here are 5 simple steps we can take to help prevent our vehicles deteriorating too much while they’re stood idle.
Clean It Out. Pretty obvious really. Half eaten chocolate bars, just about empty milkshakes or the final mouthful of a sandwich left in your car for a few weeks will not be pleasant the next time you go in there. Chuck all the rubbish and leftovers out before you leave it.
Handbrake Off. This will prevent the brakes from sticking or, worst case, seizing on. Make sure you keep the vehicle safe by putting it in 1st gear and/or placing a chock under one of the wheels (a reasonable sized piece of wood will do for this).
Disconnect The Battery. Even if you have nothing physically running in your car, there is always a small drain on the battery. Things like your clock and radio memory are using tiny amounts of power all the time. Over a couple of days, you’re unlikely to notice it at all, but over a couple of weeks or more, this could be enough to drain the battery. It’s also worth putting a little grease or vaseline onto the terminals once they’re disconnected to stop any rust forming. (Top tip: Double check you have the security code for the radio before you disconnect the battery)
Inflate Tyres. Checking the tyre pressures and re-inflating them as necessary will help prevent the sidewalls cracking and the tyres developing flat spots. If feasible, it’s also worth rolling the car forwards or backwards a few inches to leave a different part of the tyre in contact with the ground.
Refuel. Over time, and given changes in temperature that the UK can have, it’s possible for moisture to become present inside your fuel tank. This can cause rust to start forming on the internal surface of the tank and is obviously not good if drawn into the engine. Refilling the tank and putting in an additive (such as Redex) can greatly help reduce this.
So there you have it, five steps to keeping your car or vehicle in tip-top condition during periods where it’s unlikely to be used.