9 Tips For Car Owners During Lockdown
Nobody is driving much at the moment, and if you are not a key worker driving to work each day, then most likely your car is sat idle in the garage, on the drive or on the street outside. You might be saving on fuel costs and general wear and tear, but there is still plenty you need to consider in keeping your car roadworthy and protecting its long term value.
Here are 9 tips for car owners during lockdown:
1. Follow government advice at all times
There are general guidelines for what is essential travel, and by no means should you be driving 40 miles to the coast for a day trip with the family, but essential trips for food and medical supplies are okay, and of course you might still need your car to get to work. Tempting though it might be to go for a spin just to get out of the house, you need to ensure this coincides with an essential journey.
2. Just because roads are quiet don’t be tempted to speed
The open roads are much more pleasant to navigate at the moment; there are no queues of traffic at the lights, the motorways are extremely quiet and your usual journey to work or the supermarket will take you half the normal time. But don’t be tempted to speed as you can still get caught out by the cameras or a watching police patrol car, and while some parking restrictions have been lifted in some local authorities, the same speeding laws still apply.
3. If you have not had an MOT or service done due to lockdown be aware that garages are going to be very busy when restrictions are lifted so if you can re arrange for some time in May or June then we strongly recommend you make the booking
Along with hairdressers, dog groomers and pubs, most people expect garages to be the most popular businesses when lockdown restrictions are lifted, so you need to keep an eye on the news and think ahead. Anyone with an MOT due from 30th March has been given a six month extension, but you need to keep talking to your local garage and make an appointment for some point in the next couple of months to make sure you are covered. You can always cancel it if the restrictions haven’t been lifted yet, and it is better to have a booking made than have to deal with a long waiting list once the garages are back fully open. And don’t forget you are still responsible for maintaining your road tax and insurance during lockdown.
4. Be aware of vehicle crime – criminals are still operating
People know that streets and roads are very quiet and criminals are still operating overnight, so make sure you maintain your vehicle security measures and be extra vigilant now that your car is sat inactive more than it normally would be.
5. Always keep you fuel tank between ¾ and full
Fuel can develop condensation over time, so a tank that is kept as full as possible will prevent excessive moisture forming, which can cause rust and other problems for the engine. An emptier tank also creates more room for fumes to build up to more problematic levels, so the fuller your tank is the better. Furthermore, fuel is cheaper at the moment so it makes economic sense to buy it now and keep a full tank for when you need it in the future.
6. Check your oil
It is possible that oil will leak slowly when the car is sat inactive, so check your levels periodically. This is also another reason why you need to run the car’s engine from time to time – at least once per week – so that oil and fuel gets circulated around the engine and keeps vital parts lubricated.
7. If you have a diesel car try not to only do short journeys as this can lead to issues with the DPF filter. We suggest a 40-60 drive time where possible
Whilst following Governmental guidelines, if you are out for an essential journey, try driving around a little longer to give the car a good run. This should only be doing a circuit around the local area and should only be when you were going out in the car anyway.
8. If you are not using your car/van consider this may lead to the battery going flat so we suggest trying to go for as long a drive as is permitted every 7-10 days
A fairly new battery that is well-maintained shouldn’t cause a great deal of problem, and the weather getting slightly warmer is also helpful, but any inactive vehicle is at risk of a flat battery, as all batteries discharge slowly over time. So as well as periodically turning the engine over where it is parked for 15 minutes or so, you should go for a longer drive to fully charge the battery, but only following the strict Governmental guidelines as outlined above.
9. If you have a company car and are not using it and want to return it to save on benefit in kind, then please do your research as HMRC have some very strict rules that apply
Employees with company cars who are unable to use them because they have been furloughed during the current lockdown, have been granted some relief on the tax they pay on their car benefit. HMRC will not see cars as “available” for benefit-in-kind tax purposes if employees can state they are not using it. For example, they can keep the car parked at home but post the keys back to the employer. You can speak to our sales experts at Pink Car Leasing to see how this could benefit you or your business at this time.