With the UK being under ‘lockdown’ to help slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus, we have been asked to stay home and only travel for essential purposes. This means most drivers are not using their cars often, or at all.
No one knows how long we these conditions are going to be in place so it’s important to make sure your vehicles are taken care of while off the road, so that when we return to normal your car is safe and working. Here are a few tips on caring for your car during lockdown:
This is an easy one, if you didn’t give your car a wash before parking it up then now would be a good time to do so – if you can do it safely. Please do not attempt to wash your car if you can’t follow social distancing guidelines or have to travel somewhere to do so.
It’s likely that last time your car was driven that the roads had some salt on them after the cold weather. This can speed up the process of rusting on your car so it’s important to try to wash as much of this off as possible.
The best way to wash a car is to use the ‘Two Bucket Method’ – using this method first rinse the vehicle – use a pressure washer if you have one – to remove any dirt from the surface. Then fill two buckets; one with hot water and car shampoo and the other half full with lukewarm water. Use a wash mitt to clean the vehicle using the hot, soapy water, rinsing the mitt in the second bucket to remove dirt before dipping it back into the soapy water. Finally, give the vehicle a rinse, making sure to rinse inside the arches, behind the wheels and as much of the underside as possible.
Check your Tyre Pressures
Though you should check your tyre pressures regularly, it’s important to make sure your tyres are correctly inflated if the car is not moving – this helps avoid ‘flat spots’ developing on the tyre from it sitting still with low pressure.
You can usually find the recommended pressure for your tyres in the vehicle owner’s manual, or in some cases on a sticker inside the door check of your car. To inflate your tyres, use a tyre compressor – many newer vehicles come with one of these stored where a spare wheel might be under the boot floor. If you don’t have a compressor you can also use a foot pump, though this can be exhausting (or good exercise!). Again, do not make a trip out if you don’t own a compressor or foot pump, you can purchase these relatively cheaply online.
Keep your Battery Charged
This isn’t as much of a problem for most modern cars, though you may want to consider this if your vehicle is slightly older. There are a few options for maintaining charge in your car’s battery.
The easiest option is to simply start the car regularly and allow it to run for around 5 minutes, this should help keep some charge in your battery but is not guaranteed. If you’re going to do this please only do so if you can do it safely, not inside a garage or indoor car park and following social distancing guidelines.
Another option is to simply disconnect the battery – this will stop the car from drawing currant and draining the battery, be sure not to clock yourself out your car though (leave the bonnet open if need be to connect the battery again).
If you intend to leave the car for a long period then the best option would be to use a trickle charger to maintain the battery level. These work by topping up the battery as the energy is used – ensuring the battery never runs out. These are only recommended if your car is kept in a garage with a power source as they need to be plugged into the mains.