How To Take Care Of Your Car While It’s Not In Use
Read our short guide discussing 5 practical steps you can take to keep your car in working order during the current Coronavirus lockdown.
Apr 03, 2020
Car maintenance tips
This guide is for anyone who is planning to leave their car unused for a considerable period of time such as an extended holiday or a global lockdown, who’d have thought it? But whilst we’re staying at home and doing our bit to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), why not follow these 5 simple steps to ensure your vehicle is in good running condition when it’s time to hit the road again?
1. Clean the interior of your car
It might be a step you don’t think is that important or is just blindingly obvious, but when you don’t know how long your vehicle will be out of use for and you didn’t plan on not using it, it is a step that can easily be forgotten about.
First, disinfect all Key Touch Point areas including door handles, steering wheel, any dials and buttons etc. Then, you'll want to clear out your car of any rubbish - this may be food wrappers, water bottles, crumbs or anything that could attract rodents or mould (while we’re on the topic, plugging your exhaust pipe with some steel wool can also help keep pests out).
Take a minute to check the contents of your boot too, you don’t want to return to your vehicle and remember you left a sweat-dripping smelly gym kit in the back several weeks ago.
Once you’re cleared out, vacuum your interior and hang a car air freshener – we’ll let you choose the fragrance.
2. Store your vehicle indoors
You should park your car in a garage or a sheltered space. If you don’t have this option, we advise investing in a quality car cover that can keep your vehicle exterior protected during your break from the streets. It's important you buy a cover specific to your car and model as well as making sure it is breathable and won't damage your paintwork.
Whether you’re parking indoors or outdoors with a quality car cover, leaving your car for a long period of time can risk damage to your vehicle’s exterior due to dust, grime and moisture. So we advise giving your vehicle a thorough wash before storing it (and yes it is perfectly fine to play Car Wash by Rose Royce in the background, in fact, we encourage it).
3. Leave your handbrake disengaged
Have you ever left your vehicle parked over the weekend and when you return on Monday, your handbrake feels stiff? Nonetheless, you give it a good wobble and it begins to budge, and you act like nothing ever happened.
As times right now are very uncertain, we aren’t sure just how long your car will be out of use. To avoid your brake pads getting jammed or stuck to the discs or drums, you can leave your car in first gear and use wheel chocks to stop any movement. If you’re unable to get hold of any wheel chocks, you can use the old-school alternatives - pieces of wood or bricks, just anything that will keep your car from rolling. If your vehicle has a parking mode, even better.
We recommend doing this only if you are able to park indoors or if it is absolutely safe to do so.
4. Keep your tyres inflated
Before storing your car, you may want to assess your tyre pressure to make sure they are properly inflated to help prevent flat spots and sidewall cracking.
Flat spots can appear on your tyres after just a week of being parked without movement. You will be able to notice a flat spot by looking at your tyre tread and identifying a section of your tyre that has been badly worn out. Flat spots can cause serious issues as your vehicle will become unbalanced and you can experience inconsistent ride and handling.
If you do notice flat spots or sidewall cracking, be sure to replace your tyres before driving your car again.
5. Get your mechanics in order
As garages and workshops remain open for now, it is advised to get your oil changed as well as getting all other fluids checked including your coolant just to be on the safe side. Refrain completely from adding tap water to your radiator as this will cause unrepairable damage. Instead, if you find yourself running low, replace your coolant with an equal mixture of new coolant concentrate and demineralised water.
But as we mentioned earlier, your local garage will be able to help with anything you may be unsure about as well as offer expert advice on how to take care of your car while it’s not in use. Our Loughborough garage remains open for all essential maintenance while our other sites undergo temporary closure.
If you need to service or MOT your vehicle, or need to get your mechanics in order before storing your car away safely, simply book an appointment at our Loughborough garage using the short enquiry form below.