The UK’s coronavirus lockdown may mean your car isn’t driven for three weeks or more.
Here’s how to keep it safe and roadworthy for when you need it – and for when the lockdown lifts.
Protect against bad weather
The basis for this advice comes from Euro Car Parts, but we’ve added some notes of our own. The first point is that your car needs protection from bad weather.
Older or classic cars in particular don’t take well to a battering from the elements. If possible, parking in a dry, sheltered location is best.
A car cover may be a worthwhile investment, too, if a canopy or garage is unavailable.
Clean your car before storing it
A proper clean will do your car good. Leaving grime on the bodywork, especially at this time of year when it may be lathered in road salt, can cause damage over time.
Euro Car Parts also emphasises the importance of cleaning your tyres. This will get brake shavings, grease and mud off, which can all cause damage after a while.
As ever, use the two-bucket method, rinse with free-flowing water and dry with a leather chamois for a tidy finish. As well as being good for your car, it’ll be a productive task to keep you busy at home.
Clean and protect the interior
Your car interior can be a petri dish for dangerous microorganisms, including the coronavirus. Give the interior a spring clean while you’re in lockdown. It’ll stave off bad odours that you don’t want to smell on your return – and prevent damage to cabin materials.
Using a sunny day to air the car can really help as well. It’s surprising how quickly damp, and eventually mould, can build up in a car that doesn’t move. Put some moisture-absorbing silica gel in there for good measure.
Tyres, handbrake and more
There are little things you can do, that will make a big difference to your car’s condition. Leave it in gear, with chocks behind the wheels instead of with the handbrake on. This will save your handbrake cable from stretching, and your brakes from binding over long periods.
Keep the car fuelled up, to prevent moisture from developing in the tank and leading to rust.
Also pump your tyres up to avoid flat spots developing if it isn’t being used.
Keep your battery charged
Indeed, the best thing you can do when leaving your car for long periods, is not actually leave it. Running your car will help keep the battery charged, but you should only drive during the lockdown if strictly necessary.
The most common failure on cars that stand for a while is a dead battery. Left flat, car batteries can develop dead cells, with a replacement costing at least £50. If you have one, plug in a trickle charger to keep the battery topped up.