Battery, brakes and tyres – what to do to keep your car healthy in lockdown
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With car journeys having dropped significantly during the coronavirus lockdown, plenty of vehicles have been left parked without use for days or even weeks on end.
But a prolonged period of idleness can cause problems for cars – particularly for the battery, tyres and brakes.
MORE: Follow the Suffolk Coronavirus Facebook page for updatesIn an ideal world, taking the car for a spin to get some charge in the battery and work through the gears is the ideal scenario, but unless driving to the shops or for medication, many people are unable to do that.
Outlined below are a few tips to keep your car healthy while lockdown remains in place.
• Check your oil – having oil topped up will ensure that when you start your car and run it for the first time after a break that the essential components are lubricated.
• Start your car and leave it running for at least 15 minutes – this will help put some charge into the battery and ensure it starts easier. Consumer champion website Which? recommends doing this once a week. If you have a trickle charger, this can also help keep the battery topped up.
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• If you can, roll your car slightly so that it is not parked on the same contact patch of tyre with the road for a long period. This will stop your tyres getting a flat spot. Check them for cracks before setting off and top up with air if needs be at a petrol station fairly soon after getting back into use.
• Make sure it has plenty of fuel – if it is next to empty the chances are the engine will struggle to get going after a prolonged period of idleness.
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• If you can, cycle through the gears to make sure they are not stuck, and this will allow oil to lubricate them.
• Brakes can seize easily while not in use, so using them while moving back and forward, even in a parked space, can help keep them moving. Also try pulling the handbrake on and off a few times to check it isn’t seized. Parking with the handbrake off but in first gear can help too, but only where parking on a flat surface.
MORE: Access to GPs and prescriptions during coronavirus - what you need to knowThe above list is by no means exhaustive, but should go some way to helping keep your car in the best shape it can be.