Looking After Your Car in Lock-down

Keeping your car running well is especially important at the moment, but it's likely you're using it much less than you would normally, or you may not be using it at all. Cars are designed to be driven, and their condition can deteriorate if they're not used enough, or they're parked up for extended periods of time. We've put together some suggested checks and basic maintenance you can do to help keep your car in good condition during the lock-down.

Our dealerships remain open for essential maintenance and repairs, so if you have any safety concerns relating to your car, please contact us and we will be happy to offer advice.


Even when your car is switched off, some of its systems remain active and this can drain the battery if you're not using the car. There are a few ways you can avoid a flat battery:

  • Using a car regularly is the best way to keep the battery charged. If you have more than one car in your household it's best to use both of them, so rotate which car you use for essential travel.
  • You should avoid regularly starting the car and then quickly turning it off, or using it for very short journeys (less than 20 minutes), as this will drain the battery and not give the car the opportunity to recharge it.
  • If you're not using the car regularly and you have off-road parking you could invest in a trickle charger which will maintain the charge level in the battery.
  • If you don't have anywhere to plug-in a battery charger, you can turn the engine on regularly for at least 20 minutes to restore charge to the battery.


Tyres are what connect you to the road, and as such their condition is very important from a safety perspective. There are a number of checks you should make regularly:

  • Check your tyre pressures. If these are low you will use more fuel, and the handling and braking performance can be compromised. The correct tyre pressures for your car should be found in the handbook (some cars also have them printed inside one of the door shuts).
  • You should also keep an eye on the remaining tread depth on your tyres. The legal minimum in the UK 1.6mm. Handily, this is the same depth as the outer band of a 20p coin, so you can check if your tyres are legal by placing the coin in the grooves of the tyre - If you can see any of the outer band then your tyres need replacing.
  • If you're not using the car for a prolonged period of time, flat spots can develop on the tyres where they have had the weight of the car sitting on them. This will result in vibration when you drive the car and could mean the tyres have to be replaced. The easiest way to avoid this is to slightly roll the car forwards or backwards regularly to change the part of the tyre that's supporting the car's weight.


When a vehicle is unused for a period of time surface rust will quickly start to build up on the brake discs. While this will look unsightly, it is mostly harmless. However, if it is left for long periods, scoring of the brake discs could occur meaning they might need to be replaced.

  • If you haven't used the car for a while you should gently apply the brakes when setting off to check their effectiveness and clear away the surface rust. You are likely to hear a grinding noise, don't worry this will stop when the rust has been removed. Try to move the car regularly to do this.

You may also find that the car's handbrake will stick if it is left on for a long period of time.

  • If your car is parked off-road on the level you should consider leaving the handbrake off and placing chocks (old bricks or something similar will work) around one of the wheels to prevent the car moving. You can also leave the car in 1st gear to help prevent the vehicle moving.


In order to ensure your car keeps running correctly you should check the following fluid levels regularly, this is especially important if you've been unable to have your car serviced due to the lock-down:

  • Screenwash
  • Oil
  • Coolant
  • Brake fluid

You car's handbook will tell you how to check these. If you think any of them are low, please contact us and we will advise you what to do.

Air Conditioning

If you don't use your car's air conditioning for a period of time the seals within the system can dry out. If this happens, the coolant gas can escape and the system will no longer be able to cool the air.

The best way to avoid this is to make sure you run the air conditioning at least once a week when you are running the car, even if the weather isn't warm enough to normally need it - You can run the air conditioning and heating at the same time.