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Top tips for maintaining your vehicle during lockdown

With lockdown three underway and the likelihood that this may continue into March, many of us have vehicles that are sitting undriven on our driveways. In cold weather, this can be a particular problem, so how do you go about keeping your car in good condition so that it performs properly when you can get out and about again?​​

Currently driving is only permitted for a handful of reasons:

1. To obtain medical supplies or access an appointment

2. To provide care or help vulnerable people

3. Travelling to and from work if you cannot work from home

4. To shop for basic necessities

5. To meet with your support or childcare bubble

For lots of us, that means we’re barely getting behind the wheel. So, here’s what you can do to ensure your vehicle doesn’t suffer unduly.

Ensure the MOT is up to date

While owners were given an extension for their MOT tests during the first lockdown in 2020 if expiry was due before 31st July 2020, this isn’t the case for the current lockdown. The Government have confirmed that garages and MOT test centres are an essential service and can remain open for business during this lockdown. Many insurers require that your vehicle has a valid MOT but even if this is not the case, you should ensure that you MOT is carried out before it expires so that it is legal and roadworthy.

The Service departments at Gates across Essex, Hertfordshire and London are open as usual. We are currently taking bookings for MOT on an appointment only basis. To make a booking, simply click the link below or contact your local dealership.

Book an MOT

Maintain the brakes

If your car is left stationary, the brake discs can begin to corrode, which can in turn lead to seizure that can only be fixed by a mechanic. To prevent this, you can roll your car back and forth every so often – when it’s safe, of course.

Maintain the battery

We’ve all faced a flat battery in winter; cold weather is known for draining the energy from it. To avoid this, simply start your vehicle once a week and let it run for 15 minutes or so. This will boost the battery charge, and circulate the oil and fuel, preventing flooding in petrol models. But, remember not to leave your car unattended when it’s switched on!

Check fluid levels and tyres

If your car has been parked for some time and you need to use it soon, it’s worth checking that fluid levels – including engine oil and coolant, brake fluid and screen wash – are all above the minimum recommended levels. Make sure your tyres have sufficient tread depth, as this is particularly important in winter. The tread should be no less than 1.6mm in depth across the central three quarters of the tyre. Check your tyre pressure too, as under-inflated tyres can affect braking performance and fuel efficiency.

At Gates, we offer a Winter Check, priced at £40, where all of these essential checks are carried out by one of our Ford trained technicians. Click here to find out more.

Stay up to date with tax and insurance

You may not be using your vehicle just now, but you will need to keep your road tax and insurance up to date. Even if you have declared a statutory off-road notification (SORN), it’s worth keeping up with insurance in case of theft or damage while the vehicle is parked.

If you require further advice or guidance

Further information about maintaining your vehicle and visiting your local Gates dealerships during COVID-19 restrictions, can be found on our FAQs page. We hope that the above information is useful, but if you would like any further guidance with regards to your vehicle health, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. For further details about how to maintain your vehicle, visit our FAQ page.