How to maintain your car when not driving regularly

How to maintain your car when not driving regularly

With the country in the middle of the coronavirus (COVID-19), you may not be able to get out and about in the car as much as you’re used to. Many will be wondering what to do with your car if you aren’t driving it on a regular basis.

What to do with your car, and how to maintain it, depends on how long you’re leaving your car idle. For example, you may be using it to top up on food and supplies or driving it if you work in an essential job or industry. But for many, you may not need or want to use your car for a lot longer, maybe even months.

Remember that even if you’re not using it, you’ll still have to insure your car unless you make a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). You can only make a SORN if the car’s being kept off the road.

Here are some commonly asked questions and answers:

How long can you leave a car without starting?

How long you leave a car without starting can depend on the condition of your car’s 12-volt battery. Most modern cars with a fairly healthy battery should last at least 2 weeks, without needing to be started up to re-charge the battery. If there’s any doubt about the condition of the battery, start it once a week just to be safe.

What happens if you don’t drive a car for a long time?

Even if you haven’t driven for a while your car should be fine. If it’s been regularly started and run for 15-minute periods, the battery should work. The tyre pressures should be checked and adjusted before driving. The brakes may have some corrosion on them, especially if the car was wet when it was parked up. Drive carefully and test the brakes as soon as possible. Make sure you use your brakes for the first few miles to clean off any corrosion.

Is it bad to leave a car unused?

Cars are made to be driven but with good care it should be fine. If it’s left unused follow our guidelines.

Can I leave my car parked for a month?

Yes, but it’s best to follow these guidelines to keep the car ready to drive.

How long can a car sit before the battery dies?

As we’ve said above, there are many factors that can affect this. The age of the battery, how the car’s been used and the temperature all affect the performance of a battery. If you follow our guidelines your battery shouldn’t let you down.

What if my MOT expires?

The government has announced a 6-month exemption from the MOT test, although your car must be kept in a roadworthy condition.

Here are a few simple tips on how to keep your car lasting longer and ready to use when you need it again.

Leaving your car parked for up to a month
  • Fuel – Before parking your car up for a long period, it’s a good idea to top up with fuel. Not only will this help with other measures, but a full tank doesn’t attract condensation, which could cause issues if allowed to build up over time.

  • Battery maintenance – If you can, connect your car’s battery to a mains-powered battery maintainer. If you can’t, start the engine once a week and allow it to run for about 15 minutes. This will re-charge the battery and help keep the engine in good condition. It’s important to allow the engine to run for this long so the battery can charge properly. In the case of petrol engine cars, it also helps to prevent engines from flooding with fuel. Never leave your car unattended with the engine running.

  • Brakes – Sometimes when a car’s parked up for a long period with the parking brake on, the brakes can seize. To prevent this it’s good practice to release the parking brake and move the vehicle a short distance back and forth, at the same time as running the engine. You shouldn’t leave the parking brake off unless the vehicle is on private land with the wheels securely chocked.

  • Electric vehicles – EVs and hybrid vehicles have 12-volt batteries, the same as conventional cars. However, they charge differently. Pressing the start button, so the ready light comes on, will operate the charging system. Doing this for 10 minutes once a week should keep the 12-volt battery topped up. Some electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles can maintain their 12-volt batteries if they’re plugged in to the mains charger. Check your vehicle handbook for details on this.

  • Garages – Don’t run a car engine inside a household garage as the exhaust fumes can be toxic. If you keep your car in a garage, pull it out onto the drive to run the engine to charge the battery.

  • Tyres – Before driving the car after a long period parked up, check all of the tyre pressures and inflate if needed.

Full advice from The AA is available HERE

Driving and MOTs extensions

Link to the new DVLA guidance HERE

Published 25 March 2020

From 30 March 2020, MOT due dates for cars, motorcycles and light vans will be extended by 6 months. This is being done to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

There’s separate guidance about what to do if your MOT due date is up to and including 29 March 2020.

There are different temporary rules for MOT tests for lorries, buses and trailers.

What you need to do

You do not need to do anything to extend your vehicle’s MOT expiry date if it’s on or after 30 March 2020. However, you must keep your vehicle safe to drive.

Your vehicle will be automatically given a 6-month MOT exemption. This will extend your current MOT expiry date by 6 months.

ExampleYour vehicle’s MOT was due to expire on 3 April 2020.

This will automatically be extended to 3 October 2020. You will need to get your MOT by this date.

You can check your MOT history to see when you have been issued an exemption. It will not be updated straight away, so keep checking back if your new due date MOT is not yet showing.

You will not get a paper exemption certificate.

If your vehicle tax is due, you can tax your vehicle as soon as your MOT due date has been updated.

If your vehicle’s first MOT is due

Your vehicle will be automatically given a 6-month MOT exemption from the date its first MOT was due.

If your first MOT was due before 30 March 2020 and your vehicle did not pass

Your vehicle will not get an extension to its MOT due date.

Your vehicle will need to pass an MOT before you can drive it again.

The government is allowing MOT centres and garages to remain open. So you can still get an MOT if you need your vehicle:

  • to shop for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • for any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home

Read the full guidance on staying at home and away from others.

Keep your vehicle safe to drive

You must make sure your vehicle is safe to drive (‘roadworthy’). It can be unsafe even if your MOT expiry date has been extended.

Find out how to check your vehicle is safe and read the rules about vehicle maintenance, safety and security.

You can be fined up to £2,500, be banned from driving and get 3 penalty points for driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition.

You should still take your vehicle to be repaired at the nearest open garage. The government is allowing them to remain open.

Levenshulme Station Improvements

March 13 report from Afzal Khan on improvements to Levenshulme Station.

“Last week I attended a site visit to Levensulme Station with representatives from Northern and Network Rail, as well as one of the local councillors. In the past few years there has been a number of issues at the station including flooding, poor lighting, and overall lack of cleanliness. I was therefore delighted to be walked through the improvements that are due to take place in the Spring. 

These include:

  • Removing existing wall and ceiling cladding in the subway, including gutters and existing redundant and temporary light fittings
  • Deep clean and refurbish newly exposed glazed brick subway walls and fittings
  • Replace existing tiled subway floor with new concrete floor slab and resin floor finish
  • Install new lighting in the subway
  • Install new drainage channels along both subway walls to accept discharge from gutter downpipes, and any surface water from the subway floor
  • Remove existing ceilings above station entrance and platform stairs and install new boarded ceilings

While I was incredibly disappointed that Levenshulme Station wasn’t awarded any Access for All funding from the Department for Transport, despite submitting a very strong bid backed by a great community campaign, I will be continuing to explore other funding options to improve accessibility at this busy station.

However, I am very pleased that stations elsewhere in Manchester Gorton have been awarded Access for All funding. Work will start soon at Belle Vue and Ryder Brow railway stations to improve safety and accessibility.”

Fallowfield Loop £4.9m investment

£4.9 million investment announced for the Fallowfield Loop

Fallowfield Loop enhancements (£4.9m)
This scheme will create a 24/7, orbital cycle and walking route connecting Chorlton to Gorton. It is proposed to introduce new lighting and to improve access points along this 12km, traffic-free cycle path.

More information available HERE

https://www.manchester.gov.uk/news/article/8328/manchester_announces_new_walking_and_cycling_schemes_as_mayor_and_commissioner_call_on_government_for_long-term_funding_commitment