Drivers urged to ‘take steps’ today to protect their cars from lockdown damage

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Lockdown rules say that journeys can be made under some circumstances meaning there could be more traffic than back in the spring. But experts at the AA warn that many drivers will be preparing their vehicles for another month off the roads.

The AA reported that breakdowns were up by around 40 percent when the first lockdown was lifted as many cars suffered issues after failing to be maintained.

Ben Sheridan, AA Patrol of the Year urged drivers to take some crucial steps before parking their car for a lockdown to prevent issues from building up.

He said: “If you’re locking your car up for the month or even further into winter, there are steps you can take now to see it through the period of disuse; known as laying-up.

“If the car is kept off the road and isn’t being used at all, you may be able to make a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).

“Before parking it up, it’s a good idea to top up with fuel. A full tank doesn’t attract condensation, which could cause issues if allowed to build up over time.”

Under the new measures, road users are allowed to use their cars to travel to certain areas such as for work or to drop children off at schools.

Drivers can also travel for outdoor exercise or to visit an outdoor area as well as for medical reasons and to visit a supermarket.

These local trips mean drivers could be more likely to use their cars than they did during the last shutdown.

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Mr Sheridan said drivers should keep their car running for at least 15 minutes to allow batteries to charge.

He warned that modern batteries may only last two weeks of not being used before issues could develop.

He said: “This could reduce the number of mechanical issues picked up by road users as cars are being regularly used rather than sitting cold.

“One of the key things to look out for is the battery. There is more demand on car batteries during winter with increased use of lights, wipers and heating.

“The age of the battery, how the car has been used and the cold temperatures all affect performance.

“You can help keep it in good working order by using a mains-powered battery maintainer or, if this isn’t possible, starting the engine once a week and allowing it to run for at least 15 minutes to give the battery time to charge.

“Most modern cars with a fairly healthy battery should last at least two weeks without needing to be started up, but if there’s any doubt about the condition of the battery, start it once a week just to be safe.

“If you keep your car in a garage, remember to pull it out into the open first; don’t run the engine inside a garage, and never leave your car unattended with the engine running.”

Mr Sheridan said owners of electric vehicles need to charge their car battery at least once a week to keep their battery topped up.

They said that operating the charging system and putting cars into “ready” mode for ten minutes once a week should help keep the battery in good condition.

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