Looking after your car in lockdown

Keep on running (the car)

First, remember that from the most compact city car to the most powerful SUV, your vehicle is a machine and needs due care and attention, otherwise it won’t work as efficiently. So while the festive period might mean a mini hibernation, you should take time to move your car every few days for going back to work and doing more travel after the January lockdown ends.

By driving around the block every few days, or even by powering the car back and forwards in the drive or within your parking space, you’ll keep the engine working, brake fluid circulating, and help to prevent icing of the car’s workings in cold weather.

Similarly, use the brakes when starting up the car to prevent corrosion around the brake discs and brake pads.

Prolong battery life

As covered in Autoparts’ blog article ‘How to avoid Flat-Battery Monday’, it’s important to remember that your vehicle’s battery can drain if it isn’t used for days or weeks – this was the case for thousands of drivers in during lockdown in spring 2020.

You should drive your vehicle, not just start it, to keep the battery in good health. And for electric vehicles, or EVs, you should still charge the battery to around 50% to keep it from draining – the last thing you want when you return to your commute is a flat battery. And while it varies between EV manufacturers, the best way to keep your EV powered up is to put it on ‘ready mode’ now and then to charge it.

Tyres matter too

It’s easy to think because you’ve got the right tread depth (minimum 1.6mm but ideally around 3.0mm) your tyres are in perfect condition, but while they might be roadworthy, your tyres can undergo undue pressure when your car sits in the driveway or on the street unmoved for days on end.

Avoid pressure points developing on a vehicle’s tyres, and tyre breakdown, by driving a short journey every few days, staying local to your council area throughout lockdown – such as a trip to the supermarket, or going to the petrol station to fuel up. You should make sure your tyre pressure is at the required level, and pump up your tyres if necessary.

You can find a range of tyre pressure gauges, including this brilliant 5-in-1 digital tool, at Autoparts’ product site

Switch on the air-con

Use the air conditioning in your car during lockdown – it helps a lot of functions in the car keep running smoothly, like preventing the coolant – which regulates the vehicle’s temperature and lubricates the seals – from drying out due to prolonged periods of vehicle inactivity.

To read more about driving safely in the worst that winter can throw at you, visit the Autoparts blog