Tips For Getting Back on the Road After Lockdown
The coronavirus pandemic has led to travel restrictions and many people working from home instead of travelling to work, meaning that their cars may have been sitting idle for months. As the lockdown comes to an end and restrictions are eased, you shouldn’t just expect to jump in the car, turn the key and hit the road.
Your car can develop problems when it’s not used for a long time, some of which are potentially dangerous. Here are some basic maintenance checks you should carry out before you drive, along with ways to prevent the problems happening in the first place if you know you won’t be using your car for a while.
Modern cars have a number of electrical systems running in the background, such as security devices, that can drain battery over time. Cold weather can also sap power from the battery. To prevent the battery running down, it’s recommended to start the car once a week and run the engine for at least 15 minutes. Alternatively, use a mains-powered trickle charger to keep the battery topped up.
If your battery does go flat, you can use jump leads to jump start your car from another vehicle. It’s a simple process, but if you don’t follow the correct procedure, you can damage the car’s computerised operating system. A battery booster pack is a useful tool to keep handy for when you don’t have access to another vehicle.
Squeaking or Seized Brakes
Rust can build up on your brakes during a period of inactivity. They might squeak and work less efficiently. When you first drive the car, drive with extra caution, and avoid heavy braking. After a while your brakes should normalise. If you have any concerns, have your brakes checked by a professional.
It’s normal to apply the handbrake when you park, but after being on for a long time, it can get stuck. To prevent it from seizing up, you should leave it off and leave the car in gear. If there’s any risk of the car moving, put wooden blocks behind the wheels. If the handbrake is seized, try rocking the car back and forth, apply and release the brake multiple times, or gently accelerate and reverse the car.
Check Your Tyres
Your car’s tyres lose pressure over time. Before driving, check the tyre pressures and top them up as necessary. When your car has to stay in one place for a long time, you can prevent flat spots from forming by moving the car slightly forwards or backwards once a week.
Go For a Drive
The best way to prevent car problems from developing is to go for a drive every week. It will keep your battery charged, allow circulation of the car’s fluids, and stop rust forming on your brakes, among other benefits.
Clean Your Personalised Number Plates
After a long spell parked on the road, dirt can build up on your number plates. Bear in mind that it’s illegal to have an obscured registration number. Also, if you have personalised number plates, you want to be able to see them.
If you don’t yet have your own private registration number, you browse the millions of available numbers at CarReg. There’s something to suit every taste and budget, so start your search today.