Schools in England are set to reopen on March 8, which means that millions of people will once again be driving their children to school.
However, with lockdown measures having been imposed since Christmas, there’s a likelihood that many cars won’t have moved quite as much as usual. As a result, it could be worth giving them a brief check over to ensure that they’re good to go. Lexus has given us some information on the key areas to look at, so let’s dive in.
A quick visual inspection
Giving your car a quick visual once-over can be a great place to start. Look out for any knocks or dents which may have occurred while the vehicle was parked up, particularly if you leave your car on the street. If you find something, ensure that it’s having no impact on the roadworthiness of the car.
Also, look in the wheel arches to ensure that no animals have started nesting there during the winter months.
Check the fluids
Even though your car might not have been moving, it’s a good idea to check its fluids to make sure that everything is as it should be. Look at the oil, coolant and windscreen washer levels and check them against the manufacturer’s recommendations.
If needed, these can all be easily topped up from home. However, if you do have any concerns, then always consult a professional mechanic.
Time to switch on the engine
A car’s battery can easily drain itself when the vehicle isn’t in use and this can quickly lead to issues when trying to start the vehicle. However, when you do start the car, leave it to run for a little while – though remain with the car at all times, of course. Lexus recommends at least 20 minutes of run time to restore the charge used up when starting the car.
If your vehicle struggles to get started, then it could be time for a new battery. These can be fitted at home, though many retailers will offer the option to fit it for you should you rather.
Check the brakes
Cars that haven’t moved for a long time can often suffer from corrosion on their brakes. It’s more noticeable on cars that have been parked outside, or those which have been left near to seaside areas.
However, it’s something which can easily be sorted. All you need to do is slowly and gradually apply the brakes when moving and this should remove the surface corrosion off from the discs.
Check tyre pressures
Tyres can easily lose pressure when they’re not turning, which is why it’s so important to check that they’re inflated to the correct levels. You can find the manufacturer’s recommended pressures either in the car’s manual, behind the fuel filler flap or inside the door shuts. Don’t forget to make sure that your spare tyre is correctly inflated, too.
Also, check for flat spots. These can occur when a car has been left stationary for a long time and will result in an odd ‘wobble’ being felt through the steering. In this instance, it could be best to swap out your old tyres for new ones.
Clean the car
It definitely can’t hurt to give your car a thorough clean, too. If it’s been parked up for a long time, contaminants such as tree sap, bird droppings and salt can easily accumulate and damage paintwork if left for too long.
Don’t neglect the interior either. Try cleaning areas with bleach-free antibacterial wipes to make sure that any lingering germs are removed.
Check essential safety kit
Make sure that all of the right safety kit is available in both the glovebox and boot. Also check that your warning triangle is present and correct, along with a jack, wheel wrench, high-vis jackets and first aid kit.