Top Tips for Vehicle Maintenance

07.04.2020

Vindis Group's Top Tips for maintaining your vehicle during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

With people now at home for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19, our cars, vans and motorbikes are going to be used a lot less frequently than they were before. If you are working from home, self-isolating or just not travelling, we have collated our top tips on how to keep your vehicle healthy:


1. Keep all ‘Touch Points’ of your vehicle clean

Firstly, there are people still using their vehicles key workers, visiting the supermarket for food and essentials. Although your vehicle may be in use it is still important to keep yourself safe and prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Limiting your journeys where possible, as well as, washing your hands when cleaning your vehicle is incredibly important. When cleaning and disinfecting, use the right products for the materials in your vehicle (i.e. plastic, leather, rubber, cloth, etc.) such as disinfectant wipes, mild soap and water and leather conditioner. These won’t necessarily kill the germs but will help reduce the spread. When cleaning focus on the main areas that hands come into contact with such has door/boot handles, touch screens, gear sticks, indicators and the steering wheel.

 

2. Battery maintenance

It is not necessary to start your vehicle every day to keep a battery charged. If your vehicle has not been used for a period in excess of 7 days, we suggest that you start your vehicle once a week and leave it running for five minutes with everything in the car switched off (other than the air conditioning, see next tip). After 5 minutes and with your foot firmly on the clutch (or if automatic with the lever in ‘P’ for park), raise the engine speed to 2500rpm for diesel engines and 3000rpm for petrol engines and hold the engine revs  at that speed for 30 seconds, as this will flush through any carbon build up. Then allow the engine revs to fall and leave the engine idling for a further 5-10 minutes before turning the engine off – this should keep your car battery and engine in a good state. If you have two vehicles in a household, try alternating the vehicles when making any essential journeys.


3. Air conditioning

One thing to keep on when running your vehicle is the air conditioning as this will aid its circulation due to lack of use. It will also reduce the likelihood of the refrigerant (gas) escaping past a dry seal, however if this does happen, a standard air conditioning service will replenish the system, unless there are other leaks present, at a later date.


4. Checking oil

Should you wish to check your engine oil level, please ensure that your vehicle is parked on a level/flat surface. The engine oil level should be checked either with a cold engine that has not run for at least 30 minutes, or it should be checked with a warm/hot engine, again after leaving the oil to drain fully into the engine sump. If you own a high performance vehicle equipped with a dry sump, please consult your owner's manual, rather than follow the above instruction.


5. Checking tyres

Tyres naturally lose air, so it is advised to check your tyre pressures before you use your vehicle again after it has been sat in the same place for a longer period of time. Tyre pressure is important for your vehicle's performance, safety, and fuel economy, and helps your tyres to wear evenly. Tyre pressure settings can normally be found inside the fuel filler flap or the owner's manual and should be checked when the vehicles are cold.


6. Your MOT is due

There has been a six month extension to MOTs due at this time. More details on this can be found in our separate article, which can be found by clicking here. Your next MOT will be valid for the normal period of 12 months following the date of test.

  

7. Wear gloves at the fuel station

If you do need to make a journey, please remember to use gloves at the fuel station when filling or charging your vehicle. Numerous people have used the pumps and even if they are regularly cleaned, this could be one of the major causes of spreading COVID-19. Most fuel filling stations have plastic glove dispensers, however just in case, it would be advisable to take your own as well.


8. What else could happen if your vehicle is stationary

If you park your vehicle outside, remember that it could be subjected to all sorts of droppings falling on to it. For example dust could settle, so ensuring that your windscreen washer fluid is topped up with a proprietary additive and cleaning your vehicle once a fortnight would be advisable. Should any tree sap or bird lime settle on your car we would suggest it be cleaned off immediately with warm soapy water and a sponge, in order to prevent damage to your vehicle’s paintwork.

Try to avoid parking under a tree as debris could get caught in your vehicle’s heater/air conditioning intakes. Also, although this may sound far-fetched, if your vehicle remains stationary for a long period of time, check that an animal hasn’t nested underneath it.


We do hope that you have found the above advice useful, however, we must state that we cannot take responsibility that our suggestions will work 100% of the time, nor completely avoid any issues of a vehicle being stationary for a long period of time but these tips potentially should help in the long run. In case of emergencies, we do have teams of Vindis staff working remotely who can provide support, and four of our businesses are open to provide maintenance – their locations are Bedford, Waterbeach, Huntingdon and Northampton. Should you need further assistance, please contact us by telephone, email and Live Chat. We hope you will all stay safe and healthy in the meantime.