General,Vehicle Maintenance

Although you aren’t advised to drive your car during the lockdown period, this doesn’t mean you should forget about it!

If you aren’t using the car for groceries, exercise or work, here a few tips from the trade on how to keep your car healthy during this down-period! This may also give you some ideas to ease the boredom too??

The Essentials:

  1. Keep the following ticking over:

Battery: Many of you will be aware of the effects of leaving a car for a prolonged period of time on the battery, ultimately, over time, it will become discharged and may not start the car when you want to use it! The best advice, especially if you don’t have a trickle charger, is to start the car and leaving it running for around 15 minutes, this will generate some charge and get the engine warm.

Air-conditioning: It’s also a good idea when running the engine to turn on the A/C.. this will keep it fresh for those hot summer days, and avoid any potential mould in the system! It will also keep the car smelling fresh instead of hot and stuffy!

Brakes: A little known fact, but brakes also need to be kept in good shape too! To do this, if possible, when running the engine, release the handbrake, and allow the car to roll, using the brakes to stop you! Do this a few times back and forth, and this can stop brake disc corrosion!

Tyres: The advice above to keep the car moving, even just in your street or driveway, will also keep your tyres in shape! If left for too long, your tyres will develop flat spots, from being sat too long, and may require new tyres after a while, as flat spots are irreversible! Moving the car every few days will avoid this.

Seeing as you’ve got the time….:

Being stuck at home, you might have the time to do those ‘I’ll do it later’ jobs, and perfect opportunity to bore the kids too!

  1. Fluids: you should check your fluids such as oil, screen wash and coolant regularly, but I know from experience it’s a job that gets shoved down the priorities! Lots of cars nowadays have digital oil monitors, if you’re not sure, have a look at the manual! Amenities such as oil and screen wash are still available online, and well worth it to keep the car in tip-top shape.
  2. Lights: here’s where a little helper is always useful! You should check your brake lights, front lights (dipped, fog and beam), and also check the rears too. You could always create a little game with your helper too!
  3. Tyres (again!): remember to check your tyre pressures, again this is usually done digitally these days! The optimum tyre pressures can be found in the owner’s manual. If your car hasn’t seen a garage for a while and after a lot of driving, it’s worth checking the tread depth, remember it should be over 1.6mm, but ideally 3mm by manufacturer guidelines! You can check this with a 20 pence piece into a  tyre groove, the outer band of the coin should be obscured by the tread block, if it’s not it’s illegal!

Here’s some further advice from automotive legend, Harry Metcalfe, giving some further advice!

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