5 tips for maintaining your car during COVID-19 lockdown
While the government has MOT expiry dates by six months, they’ve also stressed that vehicles in a dangerous condition will still be deemed illegal. Keeping your car in top condition lowers your risk of accidents (and reduces the risk of additional pressure on our emergency services!), and gives you peace of mind when making those essential trips.
We’ve put together some handy tips on making sure your vehicle is road-safe during lockdown.
1. Keep an eye on your brakes (even when you’re not driving during lockdown!)
Vehicles that aren’t given a regular run can develop problems. Brake discs can begin to corrode, leaving them less effective and eventually causing them to seize up entirely. To avoid the problem, drive your car a few meters and apply the brakes at least once a week. This’ll also help prevent flat spots on your tyres.
2. Check your battery
A flat battery is one of the leading reasons for breakdowns in the UK, but it’s so easily avoided. When you’re not driving, your car battery is still busy keeping lots of electrical functions running in the background. This can lead to a flat battery the next time you need to make an essential lockdown trip – not ideal! The usual advice is to run your car once a week for at least 15 minutes, which not only charges the battery, but also gives your car a chance to circulate oil and fuel around the engine.
If you don’t want to take a trip out, you can use a mains-powered battery maintainer or trickle charger, which will keep your battery healthy.
3. Top up your fluids
A simple but worthy task – and also an easy fix! Check your engine oil, coolant, brake fluid and screen wash before venturing out for essential journeys. Most modern cars will automatically tell you if these are running low, but if your car doesn’t notify you, it’s easy to check for yourself. You’ll find instructions in your vehicle user manual. Checking your fluid levels is an easy way to avoid a breakdown.
4. Check your tyre tread & pressure
A bald or burst tyre can have catastropic results; from skidding to collisions. The minimum tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm and you can check that yours meet this requirement with the ’20p check’. Simply pop a 20p into the tread of your tyre and if the outer edge of the 20p is not obsured, the tred is too low and they’re illegal to drive on.
As with your fluid levels, most modern cars will alert you about low tyre pressure. To check it yourself
5. Check your lights
Blown lights are easily missed – especially rear and brake lights, but they’re incredibly important for keeping the roads safe. Get a family member (or someone you’re in lockdown with), to do a 360 degree inspection of the car, while you control the lights from the driver’s seat. Remember to check your full beam, fog and brake lights.
If you have any concerns at all about your vehicle’s safety, Fox Garage are open for essential repairs, discounted servicing (from £59), and FREE MOT tests. Book online today or call 01276 704600.