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Tips for looking after your car during lockdown

While we may all be getting used to this new normal that lockdown living has brought, if you’re one of the estimated six million to be furloughed during this pandemic you might be having to keep a closer eye on your finances than usual.

If the thought of receiving an unexpected mechanic’s bill because your car has been sitting idle for weeks fills you with dread, there are some things you can do to keep your car in good running order for when lockdown measures are lifted.

Batteries and brakes

If your car is left idle for a period of time, brake discs can corrode, which can lead to brakes seizing up entirely – which is not only dangerous but can be costly to rectify.

To prevent this from happening, roll your car back and forth a few metres every so often – if it is safe to do so. If you need to make an essential journey, taking the car once in a while can help too.

To help keep your battery in good working order, start it once a week, and let it run for around 15 minutes. Even when the car’s switched off, electrical components are still running in the background and they can drain the battery.

While the engine is running, turn the aircon on, as this will help maintain the seal in the air conditioning system and reduce the chance of mould from growing and causing untold (and expensive) damage in the air circulation system.

Tax and MOTs

If your MOT was due from 30 March 2020, you will have been given a six-month extension on having an MOT test, however, you are still expected to keep your car in a safe and roadworthy condition.

This includes checking fluid levels including oil, engine coolant, brake fluid and screen-wash, and topping up to at least the minimum levels.

If your vehicle tax is due, you will still need to pay it. The only exception is if you make a statutory off-road notification (SORN). If you do this, you won’t be able to use your car at all on public roads.

Interiors and exteriors

And finally, why not give your car a little love?

Most of us have got a few extra hours to fill, so why not give your car a thorough clean inside and out. Use antibacterial sprays inside, paying special attention to often forgotten items like seatbelt buckles, buttons for windows and mirrors, and headrests.

If you’re dreaming of travelling to a far-off place, investing in a tropical air freshener might help to mentally transport you there.

Main image courtesy of AA Autos, Halifax, UK

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