How to maintain your car during the lockdown

You’re probably not driving your car as much as you normally would at the moment. The lockdown has taken thousands of motorists off the road and left many cars languishing on driveways, in garages and at the side of the road. 

We can’t wait to get back out on the road again, but for now it’s important to keep your car parked if you don’t need to use it for essential purposes. We don’t know how long the lockdown will last, so it’s a good idea to prepare your car for storage. That way, its condition won’t deteriorate while you’re not driving it, and it will be ready to go when we’re all allowed back behind the wheel. 

Here are our top tips for laying up your car:

In or out

If you have a garage at your disposal, clear some space and stick your car in there to minimise the risk of it becoming covered in moss, dirt, bird mess or – worse – rust. If not, a variety of car covers are available online; these can protect your car from the worst of the elements. Always clean your car thoroughly before putting it under any sort of cover to prevent any stuck-on grime damaging the paintwork. 

If your car is lucky enough to have a roof over its head, you should leave one of the windows slightly open to prevent the build-up of mould in the interior. Be careful, though: any openings can allow insects, small birds and even rats to enter your car and make a nest. In some cases, animals have been known to chew wiring looms, seats and dashboards to pieces, so check your car regularly for any unwanted guests. 

Advertisement

Advertisement

Security

Aside from the health of your car, there’s the exacerbated risk of theft or criminal damage that goes with leaving it unused for so long.

Your best bet is to leave your car fully locked and in a well-lit area to deter any would-be thieves from visiting under cover of darkness. A good steering lock would be a sound investment too, because it’s as much of a deterrent as it is an obstacle, as is a visible dashcam.

If you drive a newer car, there’s a good chance it’s equipped with keyless entry, so keep your car keys in a Faraday pouch and well away from any windows or the front door. 

Documents

While your car is off the road, take some time to get your paperwork in order: check how many months MOT you have left, ensure your road tax has been paid and see that your insurance is still valid.

Depending on how long it’s going to be off the road, it might be worth applying a SORN (statutory off-road notice) which notifies the DVLA that you’re not driving your car on public roads, and that it is temporarily exempt from road tax. It’s crucial that you have the SORN removed before driving on public roads again. 

Hitting the road again

If you take all the necessary precautions, your car should be raring and ready to go once the lockdown ends, but make sure you keep a list of what you’ve done so you can prepare it for regular use again. 

It’s always a good idea to wash off any dust, test the brakes and check the fluids before going for a drive. But you should also make sure that you renew your car’s MOT if necessary and that all consumable parts are still in serviceable condition.