13 things you should do to keep your car in good running condition during the coronavirus shutdown
With many of us in lockdown, it's understandable that car maintenance isn't at the top of our agendas. However, when the lockdown is eased and it's time to get back out onto Shropshire's roads, we will want to be confident that our cars are ready to go.
Problems can arise when our cars aren't in use.
Most car maintenance issues are a result of wear and tear over time. However, there are specific problems presented by cars that are stationary for a long period of time.
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Here are 13 things you can do to ensure your car keeps running.
1. Keep your battery charged
A flat battery is perhaps the biggest risk when your car is out of use as car batteries discharge over time. The easiest way to ensure this doesn't happen is to drive your car at regular intervals. If you're not a key worker, your weekly trip to the supermarket should be enough.
2. Keep the moving parts going
If your car is stationary for any length of time, the oil can begin to settle. As the fluids separate, there's a danger of seals drying out. This risks damage to your car. Again, a weekly supermarket trip should ensure that fluids keep circulating and moving parts like brakes and transmission remain lubricated.
3. Tyre pressure
Flat spots can develop where the rubber of the tyre meets the road and this can result in the tyre needing to be replaced. Fortunately, a weekly run out in your car will prevent it from sitting idle for too long.
4. Invest in a trickle charger
If you're worried about your car battery, a trickle charger might be a worthwhile investment. It plugs into a standard wall socket and connects to your battery, ensuring that the charge is constantly topped up.
5. Choose where you park
If you keep your car off-road but not in a garage, ensure you choose the spot wisely. Leaving your car on a grass verge or other soft surfaces will allow moisture to travel up to the undercarriage. This can result in rust.
6. Watch what you park underneath
As well as the surface your car is sitting on, look out for what's overhead. If it can't be kept undercover, ensure you don't leave your car beneath trees and watch out for places where birds gather.
7. Use a car cover
A cheap car cover can save you a fortune, but make sure you give your car a thorough clean before placing a cover over it, especially it's going to be parked outdoors for any length of time.
8. Wax and seal your paint
As an added protection, you can wax and seal your car before putting it in the garage or undercover. This is by no means essential, but it can ensure your car doesn't have any paintwork problems when it comes out of lockdown.
9. Fill up your tank
Aside from prices at the pump being low, it pays to keep your car's fuel tank topped up for other reasons. A full tank prevents condensation and fumes building up to potentially hazardous levels.
10. Watch out for pests
Depending on where you live, cars can be warm, inviting places for rodents and birds. Make sure there are no easy points of access and that you check your car regularly to disturb any unwanted guests.
11. Keep up your regular maintenance routine
Make sure you check your oil, windscreen washer bottles, brakes, lights and tyre pressure regularly, even if your car is not being used.
12. Go easy when you do take your car out again
The temptation to head out on a road trip to the Welsh coast, or for a run on the motorway, might be great when the lockdown ends, but initially, keep your trips short and local. See how your car performs once it's being used more regularly and anticipate any problems. You should get any issues fixed straight away.
13. Check if your local garage is still offering services
Restrictions may be eased a little in the coming weeks, but many garages have remained open throughout this period. This may be a good time to call your local garage and arrange a service. Even if your car is not due for a service yet, knowing that it is in good working order for the school run and your daily commute will give you peace of mind.