D. M. Keith Hints and tips - How to look after your car while not in use. While we are all helping with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) fight by locking down, you might not be using your car as much or possibly not using it at all. Many of our customers have asked us how to keep your vehicle in tip top condition whilst not in use, so here is a handy guide on what you can do at home. As our key workers are heading up the front line at this time their vehicles may be in regular use, however the majority of us will be staying at home and this means that our vehicles are not being used or much less use than normal, so we are here to make sure you are all back on the road when it is safe to do so. How to look after your car while not in use – handy tips: Will leaving my car parked up drain the battery? This depends on the age and condition of the car, and its battery – even when the car is parked, the battery is still running for things like the alarm so will naturally lose charge if left over time. A healthy car battery should be okay to stand for 2 weeks without needing to recharge, we recommend starting your car and going for a short drive (at least 15 minutes) every 2 weeks to help keep your car’s battery charged. If you have any doubt with the car battery you can do this once a week just to be safe or try connecting the battery to a mains-powered battery maintainer to charge. How long can I leave my car standing for? If you don’t need to use your car, you can leave it parked up however it’s best to get out for short trips to ensure the battery is charged and to prevent brakes from seizing. If you do leave your car parked up, be aware that the brakes can seize after a long period of standing still, to prevent this from happening, its best to get out and release the parking brake and take a short drive. My service/MOT has been cancelled, what should I do to maintain my vehicle at home? • Regularly check fluid levels of engine oil, coolant level and screen wash so that you’re ready to go if needed. • Keep an eye on tyre pressure and condition, including a spare if fitted • Check exterior lights • Taking your car for a short drive once a fortnight should help to keep the battery charged and stop the brakes from seizing up • If you are able, we would recommend filling your fuel tank to prevent condensation while your car is not being driven. If allowed to build up over time, condensation can lead to corrosion, water in the fuel and bacterial growth. • Keep an eye on your car for signs of condensation or mould. Moisture can sit in all kinds of places like the window frame or in rubber seals. If you’re finding it an issue, and you can’t leave your window cracked open for ventilation, we would recommend using a dehumidifier to try and keep the car dry. Storing your vehicle: If you decide not to use your vehicle at all but instead put into storage or keep in your garage:Make sure your car is clean and dry before storing to prevent marks on the paint or rust (that will also help to pass some time during the lockdown and keep you busy) • Make sure there is plenty of ventilation if storing in a garage • If your car is stored in a garage, do not attempt to run the engine inside the garage to charge up the battery as the exhaust fumes can be toxic. If you wish to run the engine, pull it out onto the drive first. • You may want to try and save some money on insurance and reduce cover to fire and theft only • You can make a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) and look into a refund on car tax Getting back out on the road: If you haven’t been able to do the above and regularly take your car out for a run out, make sure you carry out the following checks before driving your car again: • Check the MOT and tax are still current, be aware that taxing will cancel any SORN • Check fluid levels, top up or change as required • Test your brakes for any seizing • Check the tyre pressure • Make sure there’s nothing nesting under the bonnet, in wheel arches etc and check for any bites or chewing through pipes/hoses • If your car has been stood for a long period of time its best to book in for a full service once its running again. We will be keeping our website up to date on how we will make sure that all of our customers vehicles are safe to drive once we are advised it is safe to reopen, offering a priority booking service. If we have missed anything please do let us know and we will add to the above, but above all please keep safe and we look forward to seeing you all as soon as it is safe to do so.