How to look after your car during the Coronavirus lockdown
14 May 2020
It’s now been more than two months since the UK went into lockdown, and many drivers haven’t used their cars at all. For most who have, it’s been with less frequency than usual. For drivers who are currently working from home, their cars are now used as little as once a week to stock up on essentials or to drive somewhere for exercise.
If you’re currently using your car much less than usual, it’s important to keep it healthy during this time. Here’s how to look after your car during the Coronavirus lockdown.
Looking after your car’s tyres
You should always check your tyres regularly, but this is even more true when you rely on your car for essential journeys. Before setting off, check for any cracks or damage to your tyres, as well as checking the pressure.
If you haven’t been using your car much, there’s a chance that your tyres could have gone down. If this is the case, check your car’s manual to see what level they should be at and get them inflated as soon as possible. You can use your own pump or visit your nearest filling station to borrow one.
Looking after your car’s battery
A car battery that isn’t in regular use risks losing charge, especially if you are only driving short distances when you do drive. If this happens, your car may have a hard time starting up and mean you can’t get out for essential tasks. Worse yet, it could leave you stranded if your car fails to start up mid-outing.
While it’s unlikely that you’ll know how much charge your battery has, there are three risk factors to be aware of: age, length of journeys and drainage from non-essential equipment. If your car is old or only used for very short journeys, you may be more at risk. Similarly, leaving a dash cam, lights or radio on while the car isn’t moving can drain a battery prematurely.
If you fall into any of these categories, consider using a trickle charger or battery conditioner. If this isn’t an option - for example, because you park on a street where cables could pose a hazard to passers-by - try to drive for at least 15-20 rather than starting the car for short periods of time.
Other things to look out for
Before driving during lockdown, you should also check your oil levels, coolant levels and your lights. This is especially important if your car’s MOT has been delayed because of the lockdown.
Make sure you top up oil and coolant levels if they are low to keep your car running healthily. You should also keep fuel levels topped up to prevent rust from developing. If you’re driving very little - or not at all - and want to prolong the lifespan of the fuel in your car, consider adding fuel stabiliser.
It’s also a good idea to regularly check and use your hand brake and air conditioning to make sure the components don’t get damaged from lack of use.