Bedford car retailer shares five tips for keeping your car in peak condition during lockdown

Five tips on how to avoid making common mistakes when maintaining an unused car

By Holly Patel
Friday, 22nd January 2021, 9:35 am
Updated Friday, 22nd January 2021, 9:37 am

With the UK back to the instruction of ‘essential trips only’, cars across the country are gathering dust on driveways and in garages.

To make sure your car is in working condition when the time comes for you to get back on the road, a Bedford car retailer is offering some easy tips for residents.

Clive Bell, managing irector at Bells Motor Group Bedford on Riverfield Drive, said: “Like everyone else, we’re really looking forward to getting back on the roads, going on holiday and visiting friends and family across the country when we can.

The photo has been used for illustration purposes

"However, after months of being largely stationary, your car might not be in peak condition to set off on a long journey straight away.

“There are a number of quick and easy steps you can take at home to ensure your car isn’t deteriorating due to a lack of use. Here are my top tips:

1. Battery basics

“A good baseline for battery usage is to run your car’s engine for five minutes every three or four days when your car isn’t being used. This helps ensure the battery stays charged. The battery would usually re-charge as you drive the car, so when the car is not in use, the battery is more likely to go flat without you noticing.

2. Perfect placement

“Storing your car on the side of the road for weeks on end isn’t ideal for keeping it in perfect condition because it’ll be exposed to direct sunlight, rain and dust. It’s a good idea to try to park your car somewhere sheltered such as a garage. However, if this isn’t possible, it might be a good idea to invest in a car cover to help protect your car from the elements. This will also mean you avoid being met with frost-covered windows when you’re on your way to the shop!

3. Idle time

“It is actually a myth that you need to leave your car’s engine on for a few minutes before you set off to ‘warm it up’. This, in fact, wastes fuel unnecessarily and is harmful to the environment – all that is required is 30 seconds to circulate the engine’s oil, then you’re good to go. The best way to bring your engine up to operating temperature is to drive the car gently at first.

4. Correct pressure

“A car’s tyres naturally lose pressure over time, and it’s all too easy to miss this when your car is parked up for weeks on end. On average, tyres lose about one to two PSI of pressure per month, so be sure to check them before you drive your car again, even if it’s just a short journey. Use a tyre pressure gauge to check your tyres are correctly inflated (you’ll find the recommended pressure in your car’s handbook, on the car’s bodywork you see when you open the driver’s door, or on the inside of the fuel filler cap). If the pressures are even slightly lower than recommended, using a foot pump or visiting a local petrol station to fill them up will set them right.

5. Ask the experts

“During lockdown, most car retailers are still operational for MoT tests, services and repairs, so if you think there is something wrong with your car, it is still possible to have it checked out. If you can’t leave your house, or would just like some advice about preparing your car for regular use, many showrooms are available for virtual appointments so you can ask questions. If you’ve even decided to replace your old car or just want a new one, you can still purchase during lockdown. Many car retailers are offering excellent deals at the moment – for instance, Bells Motor Group Bedford is offering 0% APR finance, up to £100 off accessories and a SIM card with 100GB of data on all its Volvo Selekt Approved Used cars from Friday 22nd January until Monday 25th January 2021.”

For more information or to book a virtual appointment, visit: volvocarsbedford.co.uk or call 01234 360666.