How to ensure your car survives Level 5

During the current lockdown many of us are parking our cars for a prolonged period writes Geraldine Herbert

A few tips to ensure your car survives the lockdown

1) Give your car a thorough clean
Germs are not only likely to be lurking in footwells, air vents and armrests but recent research found that Staphylococcus was found in abundance on steering wheels and driver seats, car mats, gear stick and door handles. It is estimated that a virus could remain on door handles for many days. So using a disinfectant spray clean the dashboard, armrests, steering wheel, door frames and exterior door handles. You can buy sprays and disinfectant wipes specifically designed for car interiors but you don’t need a speciality product, as regular household sprays are also effective. Also ensure your floor mats are clean so remove, shake out and vacuum the floor mats. Treat spills and stains with a carpet cleaner; they are usually simple to apply and you just wipe away with a damp cloth.

2) Ensure everything is switched off
Check that there are no exterior or interior lights, including boot lights, left on when getting out of the car.

3) Fill it with fuel
If your car is going to be parked up for a while it’s a good idea to fill it with fuel. Service stations are still open but remember to take extra care when filing your car and be aware that viruses can survive on surfaces for days so always wear protective, disposable gloves or keep a hand sanitiser in your car and use it immediately.

4) Battery Maintenance
Ideally taking your car out for a spin is the best way to keep the battery maintained but this, however, would be classed as a non-essential journey but if you are even going to the shop once a week that might be enough. How long it would take for your battery to go flat if you leave the car completely unmoved really depends on the type, age and quality of the battery.  While new cars or a new battery could last anytime from 14 to 21 days are likely to be okay for at least two weeks. If you drive a hybrid car Toyota is advising to make sure your car battery remains in good health and recommend you use your car for 30 minutes every 15-20 days. If you have more than one car then alternate essential journeys but ensure the oldest one gets the most use. Remember if you do go out to your car and it won’t start breakdown assistance companies are still offering roadside assistance.

5) Tyres 
Before driving your car check all of the tyre pressures and inflate if needed particularly if it has been parked for a couple of weeks.

6) Insurance
Even if not in use your car needs to be insured and taxed. However, you can choose to declare your vehicle off the road but this is only suitable if your car is going to be parked and unmoved for a prolonged period.

 

Geraldine Herbert

20th October, 2020

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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