Coronavirus car care: how to keep your unused car maintained
Cars which normally saw daily use, now sit idle during the COVID-19 stay at home restrictions, can be at risk of problems while left unused for long periods of time. What happens when you don’t use your car? Common problems when irregularly driven, such as those detailed below, can lead to expensive repairs and make your vehicle unsafe to use.
Here we outline the potential common problems and the steps you can take to help prevent them.
Will the battery go flat if I don’t use my car?
The 12-volt battery is an essential part of the engine and one that is most susceptible to problems if not used regularly, especially in the winter. The battery will drain when the car is not in use, as electrical components run in the background, even when the car is locked. Weak older batteries can go flat within weeks of solid inactive use. Modern AGM battery’s can have their life expectancy shortened if they are left under charged for long periods. To avoid this happening, start the car once a week and let it run for 10-15 minutes. (Please be sure to do this in an open space to avoid exhaust fumes in confined spaces) When the engine is running, the battery gets it’s much needed charge.
Can my car brakes be affected when the car is not driven regularly?
Rust can form on the brake discs, particularly if parked outside and exposed to the elements and only takes a matter of days to begin, continuing to build up over time.
The rust can get built up on the brakes resulting in a noise when braking, and brake pedal palpations – very dangerous. Taking a short drive if possible can minimise the build up.
Do I need to check my tyre pressure?
Ensuring the correct tyre pressure is important for your cars’ performance, safety and fuel economy.
Tyres will naturally loose air, so checking them regularly and correctly maintaining to the manufacturers recommended tyre pressure is critical. Stationary cars can create flat spots on the tyres. Adding a little extra air – around 5-8 psi per tyre- can help prevent flat spots forming while not in use. But remember to re-set the normal pressures before driving.
If you have any concerns about your vehicle, call our knowledgeable technician for advice.