Eight things you can do to look after your car during lockdown

Car oil being checked
Car oil being checked (PA Archive)
8:31am, Thu 05 Nov 2020
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

Millions of drivers are expected to reduce their car use during England’s new coronavirus lockdown.

Here the PA news agency looks at eight key things you can do to ensure your car runs smoothly once restrictions are eased.

– Look after the battery

Leaving a vehicle idle for just two weeks can cause a car battery to become flat.

A mechanic checks the health of a car battery (Andrew Matthews/PA) (PA Archive)

The AA recommends running the engine once a week for at least 15 minutes to give the battery time to charge, while the RAC suggests driving at 50mph or more for at least 20 minutes.

Another option is to use a mains-powered trickle charger to top up the battery.

– Check tyre pressure

Tyres lose pressure over time as rubber is porous.

Make sure yours are properly inflated when you get back on the road to avoid poor handling.

– Move the car every week

Tyres fitted to cars left idle for long periods can develop flat spots in the areas where they touch the ground.

Regularly rotate your tyres, even if it means just rolling the car slightly forwards and backwards.

It is important to have the correct level of oil in your car (Ian Nicholson/PA) (PA Archive)

– Ensure oil and coolant are at correct levels

Oil should only be topped up after draining used oil.

Take your car for a significant journey so the fresh oil circulates around the engine.

– Don’t keep your fuel tank empty

An empty fuel tank can promote condensation, leading to rusting.

Keep keep your car's fuel tank empty (Nick Ansell/PA) (PA Archive)

Fuel stabilisers can be added, but the easiest preventative method is to keep a tank at least half full.

– Put the handbrake off and on

Handbrakes can get stuck if they are left on for a long time.

Occasionally letting them off – while the car is on a flat surface – can stop this from happening.

– Think about where you’re parking

A private garage is the best place to store a car as it could deter thieves and vandals, and will protect paintwork from the elements.

If you must park outside, try to choose a spot that is shaded during the day but has good lighting at night.

Arrange for your car to have a full service if you have left it idle for a long period (Andrew Matthews/PA) (PA Archive)

– Arrange a full service

Garages can remain open during England’s new lockdown to provide repairs, MOTs and services.

It is a good idea to book a full service if you are planning a trip after leaving your vehicle unused for a long time.

Sign up to our newsletter