During this time when the government is issuing advice for everyone to stay at home and drive only when it’s essential will lead a lot of cars unmoved and untouched..
Although we all hope that the current social restrictions would disappear fast - they are staying for the foreseeable future - however don’t let this be the reason that can ruin your car in any way.. Here are some tips & tricks to remember on how to check up on your vehicle while it’s on holiday and not driving anywhere any time soon :)
If you haven’t already cleaned your car before parking it away for the lock-down, it’s a good idea to start there..
Particularly this time of the year if you haven’t had a thorough wash yet - it may be that your car recently was driven on salted roads - and this would help to prevent rusting that can be caused by the salt on the roads.
However, you should only do this if it’s safe to do so. For example, if you’re displaying symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough and a high temperature) or have been around someone who has, you shouldn’t be washing your car. If you’re unable to observe social distancing and clean your car on private property, don’t wash your vehicle either. Also don’t make a special journey or take it somewhere to have it cleaned, if you’re unable to do so at home, as this is not an ‘essential’ reason for travel.
CHECK THE TYRES
Tyres are among the components that can suffer most from sitting still, so here is how to keep them healthy when the car isn’t in use.
1. Visually check your tyres - straightforward but needed
It sounds obvious but you should check your tyres on a regular basis - regardless of the lock-down, If you’re not driving much or at all, this could be a good time to try and source replacement tyres if needed.
If the tyres are worn, cut, are bulged, have flat spots or are cracking - it’s time to change. (Check they are inflated to the recommended pressures and wearing evenly, too.)
2. Valve caps
Easy to forget - but serves an important task. The valve cap is another important part of the tyre. This stops dirt and moisture getting in and causing damage to the stems. They are, however, small and easy items to lose.
3. More is better than less - Over-inflate your tyres
First things first - Check the tyre pressure:
It’s a good idea to go around and check the car’s tyre pressures prior to storing it away. It means you’re starting with a level playing field and should help to prolong the lifetime of each tyre too.
To check what pressure your vehicle requires, either look inside the fuel filler cap door or in the vehicle handbook. To top them up either use a compressor (these can be purchased relatively cheaply online) or with a foot pump. Don’t make a special trip out to use an inflator elsewhere, though.
To make sure your tyres don’t get too low while the car stands for a while, over-inflate them by around 15 PSI.
For most cars, this will take the tyres to between 40 PSI and 45 PSI. Over-inflation can also prevent flat-spots.
... Another way of avoiding flat-spots, or excess pressure loss, is to put your car on axle stands. This takes the weight off the tyres, relieving the load. ‘Tyre trainers’ can also help - however these items might not be so popular in the average garage - see what works for you best
STORE IT IN A GARAGE OR COVER IT
It’s a good idea to keep your car protected from the elements if it’s not going to be used for a long period of time.
Avoid the sun - either by leaving the car in a garage, or by using a UV Sun blocking cover - make sure there’s no high humidity in the garage (or air vents for covers, so air can circulate) - this will ensure that you don’t get spots or stains on your car’s paintwork and preserve its original look. Particularly if your car is parked next to a tree, direct sunlight or somewhere humid.
OH BATTERY, BATTERY, BATTERY...
Leaving your car for long periods of time without driving it can cause the battery to run flat and damage the internal mechanics.
One of the most annoying/frustrating possible problems comes from not checking your vehicle battery.. And most of us unfortunately have experienced this first hand at one point or another - ‘’It just won’t start!’’
Investing in a trickle charger could be a good way to ensure your car’s battery is kept in the best possible shape. It slowly adds charge to the battery, and ensures that it doesn’t deplete while the vehicle is sat unused. They’re often purchased by those that have cars in storage and are great if you’re NOT looking to use your vehicle for an extended period of time.
(However, only consider buying one if the car is undercover or kept in a garage, as you’ll need a close electricity source for the charger to work.)
Start the car once or twice a week
If you can’t leave the battery on charge (due to its parking location) you might consider disconnecting the battery, which would avoid it going flat.
Another popular option however is to start the car at least once a week to keep the battery topped up and ensure that everything is still running. It might be less important on newer cars, but if you have a few years behind yours, it’s definitely not a bad idea.
... You should, again, only do this if the car is located on your driveway, and should NOT make a special journey to do this, as well as abide by self-distancing rules.
There is no need to move the car to do this, just ensure that the vehicle is not in gear and with the handbrake firmly on. Running your car for a short period won’t be able to drastically alter the amount of charge in a battery, but it’ll certainly help.
Oh, and make sure you don’t leave the car while it’s running – stay with the vehicle at all times.
Seems logical - but also easy to forget...
Check that nothing is left running in the car!
Either before you’ve stopped using the car, or after starting it once a week, make sure that nothing has been left running in or on the car. Sidelights & radio are just the two of the most forgotten parts that aren’t switched off, and ones that can quickly drain the battery. However, look out for auxiliary items too – sat-nav, for instance, can put a drain on the car. The last thing you want is to return to your car in a week’s time to find out that it needs a jump start.
Last but not least!
Finally, keep your fuel tank as full as possible to prevent rusting or condensation forming inside the tank.
If you require any additional information don't hesitate to ask one of our service experts here at Premier for advice - either leave a query on our Contact Us page or give us a ring on 07890224466
- Your Premier Team