Many of us are embracing the self-isolation measures currently in place to help us overcome COVID-19 (coronavirus) as soon as possible, with as few fatalities as possible. This will see many of us driving far less frequently than we would usually, perhaps stopping completely if our vehicle isn’t required for food and medicine supplies or for work within a key industry.
If you do still need to drive throughout this period, follow these steps to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading coronavirus when using your vehicle.
What to do to protect your vehicle will depend on how long you’re leaving your car idle. Knowing that COVID-19 isolation measures will be in place for the next few weeks at least, here are our tips for leaving your car parked up for up to 4 weeks.
Filling your car with fuel before leaving it stationary for extended periods will prevent condensation that can gather in any empty space within the tank. Having sufficient fuel levels will also help with some of the following areas of best practice.
Car batteries require regular use in order to maintain their charge and start without fault.
If you are not intending to use your car for a few weeks you can connect your car battery to a mains-powered charger to top it up and prevent loss of power. If this isn’t possible you should start the car regularly, allowing it to run for about 15 minutes each time. This will re-charge the battery and will help keep the engine in good condition. It is important to honour the 15 minute time recommendation for charging effectiveness, but particularly with petrol engines as these are at risk of flooding without significant running time. Never leave your car unattended with the engine running.
How long you can leave your car without starting it will depend on the condition of its 12-volt battery. Generally speaking, most modern cars with a healthy battery can be left for at least 2 weeks without needing a bit of help recharging. We recommend taking these steps once a week if you are in any doubt about the health of your battery.
Although EVs and hybrid vehicles have 12-volt batteries like conventional cars, they are charged differently: simply starting the car will operate the charging system in an electric-powered car. Running the car for ten minutes once a week should therefore keep the 12-volt battery topped up.
Some electric and hybrid vehicles can maintain their batteries by just being plugged into a mains charger – please check your vehicle handbook to make sure.
It is possible that your vehicle brakes could seize if they are left dormant for extended periods. To prevent this, regularly move your car back and forth over short distances (if and when it is safe to do so) while running the engine. Also ensure you use both the handbrake and foot brake.
If you are leaving your car for more than a month there are extra things to consider. As well as the points above these include:
- Thoroughly clean and polish the car
- Make sure the car is dry and well ventilated if you are keeping it in a garage
- Consider declaring your vehicle as Statutory Off the Road Notification (SORN) to receive a refund on your car tax (please note, this is not applicable for leases vehicles)
- Consider reducing your insurance to fire and theft only
Returning to your vehicle after it has been stationary also comes with a number of precautions:
- Ensure that the vehicle’s MOT and car tax are still valid
- Check fluid levels before starting your engine
- Check your tyre pressures and the general condition of the vehicle
- Check nothing is nesting under the bonnet or that any components have been chewed
- Check your brakes by putting the vehicle into gear and driving carefully, checking the handbrake too.
* All vehicle images and car descriptions on this site are for illustration and reference purposes only and are not necessarily an accurate representation of the vehicle on offer.
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Carparison Ltd trading as www.carparisonleasing.co.uk is an appointed representative of Product Partnerships Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Product Partnerships Limited FCA registration number is 626349 and its address is Salts Piazza Offices, Salts Mill, Victoria Road, Saltaire, BD18 3LA. Product Partnerships Limited’s permitted business is to act as a Principal for a network of Appointed Representatives who arrange regulated credit facilities for customers who are purchasing goods from them.
Carparison Ltd trading as www.carparisonleasing.co.uk acts as a credit broker not a lender. We can introduce you to a limited number of lenders who may be able to offer you finance facilities for your vehicle. We will only introduce you to these lenders. We may receive a commission payment from the finance provider if you decide to enter into an agreement with them. You may be able to obtain finance for your vehicle from other lenders and you are encouraged to seek alternative quotations. There is an additional processing fee of £195 plus VAT chargeable to the applicant with every confirmed financial agreement. If you would like to know how we handle complaints, please ask for a copy of our complaints handling process. You can also find information about referring a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) at financial-ombudsman.org.uk
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