Coronavirus: How to clean and maintain your car whilst it’s off the road

Can I still drive my car?  

You should now only be driving your car for one of the essential reasons listed by the government. Essential travel can include; going somewhere to take daily exercise, shopping for essentials, attending a medical appointment, going to/from work (if you definitely can’t work from home), or assisting an elderly or vulnerable person.  

The police have the power to issue fines to people caught driving for travel deemed non-essential.

How to clean my car interior?

If you are still using your car it is vital you use anti-bacterial products to clean the interior as often as possible. 

If you happen to have a dedicated car cleaner to hand that’s great, but if not then normal household cleaners will do the job. Try to use a product with a high alcohol based content, ones with a 60% alcohol content will be most effective. However, be careful to check its suitable for plastics or upholstery. You could patch test a small area first to ensure no damage has been caused. If you are cleaning leather this is more damage prone – so be extra careful.

Pay special attention to areas that your hands come into regular contact with i.e. the gear stick, hand break, steering wheel, door handles, radio and seatbelts. You should also carry a hand sanitiser so that you can use this when leaving/entering the car. 

How to maintain my car whilst it’s off the road? 

Unfortunately it is likely that your car will be left out of action and unused for the foreseeable future. Although modern car engines thrive with a regular run out, there are steps you can take to ensure your car is not completely neglected. 

Clean your car

Getting out and giving your car a good clean could work wonders for both your car and your sanity! Provided it is safe to do so, you should ensure your car is given a good clean and polish to remove any dirt, grime or bird droppings. The latter can destroy your paint if left too long, however take particular care removing it so that you do not scratch the surface. 

A car cover could also help protect the body work and keep your paintwork in tip top condition. These are still available cheaply online and could prove a wise investment. 

Ensure tyres are properly inflated and avoid prolonged use of your handbrake

Check the pressure of your tyres, if they are notably low then this could be the sign of a slow puncture. Try to ensure they are pumped up to your manufacturer’s recommendations. 

Prolonged use of your handbrake could lead to the mechanism seizing to your brake pads. If it isn’t practical to keep your handbrake off then you should consider investing in some tyre chocks.

Keep your fuel tank and engine topped up 

First off, topping up your fuel tank will help avoid the build up of condensation and potential blockages. Of course, this might not be practical, but if you do need to use your car for any purpose, then consider stopping off at the petrol station on your way home. For added protection you could also consider adding a fuel preservative.

Concerning your engine, we recommend topping up your anti-freeze and changing your oil. Once complete you should then run your engine for a few minutes, to allow the fluids to circulate the whole engine. 

Regularly start up the car or use a smart charger 

Regularly starting your car engine will help prevent your battery running flat and also help with engine lubrication. Allow the engine to run for a good 10 minutes to allow the battery time to charge effectively. Never leave your car unattended whilst the engine is running. 

In addition, a smart charger will help keep your car battery topped up. In turn, hopefully preventing the need to fish out those jump leads.

Consider getting a SORN for the car

If you are definitely not going to be driving your car for a prolonged period and will be keeping it off public roads, you could consider getting a SORN declaration. This is easily done on the government website. It would allow you to request a refund on unused months of your car tax. If you do request a SORN notice you will need to re-tax your car when you start driving it again. 

Remember, all drivers currently have a 6-month MOT exemption – please refer to our pervious blog for further info. 

For further advice please call us on 0345 017 9795 and one of our friendly advisors will be on hand ready to help. 

Cleaning car wearing gloves

Maintaining Car