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Help and tips on maintaining your vehicles during and after Coronavirus lockdown

Help and tips on maintaining your vehicles during and after Coronavirus lockdown >
28 May 2020
 

Most of us are going for days and weeks without turning our vehicle engines on.

It is unusual for vehicles to sit for such long periods of time without being used, so here are some tips on how to keep them maintained over the next few weeks until the lockdown is lifted.

Battery

If a vehicle is parked up for long periods of time this may slowly drain the battery. Using your vehicle for any regular essential work, shopping or medical trips and travelling for a few miles will really help to keep your battery charged. Short regular stop-start journeys however would be bad for the battery, so better to walk if possible.

If you are unable to use the vehicle, then ideally use a battery conditioner or trickle charger if you have access to one. If not, simply start and run the engine every week or so for 15 minutes to top the battery up. If you have Air Conditioning fitted, turn this on whilst the engine is running to help maintain the seals and prevent mould building up.

Please do not leave a vehicle unattended whilst the engine is running.

Brakes

If left for a while, a vehicle’s brake discs can corrode and eventually cause the brakes to seize. The handbrake is especially prone to sticking. If you can park your vehicle on level ground on private land, then chocking the wheels safely and releasing the handbrake would really help to prevent this.

If safe to do so you could roll your vehicle back and forth a few metres every so often to prevent the brakes from sticking. This will also help to prevent flat spots developing on your tyres.

Tyres

Regularly check that all the tyres are inflated to the correct recommended pressures. Tyres will lose pressure over time, even if the vehicle is not being used. If left for long periods of time, the tyres can develop flat spots, especially on older tyres. Rolling the vehicle back and forth every so often will help to prevent this.

Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF)

A newer Diesel vehicle is likely to have a Diesel Particulate Filter fitted, which removes and captures particles and soot from the exhaust system. Under normal use the DPF filters clean themselves using a process that takes place when the engine is running above 2,500 revs for a prolonged period of time.

Repeated short stop-start journeys under lockdown could clog the filter up with soot, any remedial repair work for this would not be covered under the vehicle warranty. Best to avoid short journeys and walk if possible. Take the vehicle for a good motorway run once the lockdown ends.

MOT

Any vehicle that was due for an MOT after 30th March 2020 has been automatically extended for 6 months. Your vehicle should still be kept in a safe roadworthy condition during this time.

Getting your vehicle ready for use again after lockdown

  • Check oil level and top up if necessary
  • Check brake fluid level and top up if necessary
  • Check engine coolant level and top up if necessary
  • Check screenwash level and top up if necessary
  • Check that tyre pressures are at the correct levels
  • Check tyres for correct tread depths and defects
  • Check that all your lights and bulbs are still working correctly
  • Test the brakes gently before going for a drive