How to keep your car roadworthy when not in use

During the period of social lockdown that is in force throughout Scotland – and much of the rest of the world, for that matter – you may not be going out in your car as much, if at all.

Of course, for certain key workers, heading out in their car may be necessary every day. For others, a weekly trip to the supermarket for basic provisions may be all that they need.

There again, for the vast majority of Scots who live in towns and cities, getting behind the wheel and heading off on the roads may not be justified at all. If so, your car could be in a deteriorating condition that means you will face problems when the social restrictions are lifted.

What should you do to ensure your car is in a roadworthy condition as possible when you next use it?

Keep It In a Garage

Not everyone has a garage they can park their car in but it is one of the best ways you can keep yours car roadworthy if it will be unused for several months. By simply keeping it warmer and out of the rain, so all of the moving components, as well as the bodywork, will be in a better state when you come to drive it again. If you don’t have a garage, then a carport is the next best thing. Failing that, park on your drive with a car cover over it. If you do have to park on the street, then avoid busy locations or somewhere close to a tree which might ooze sap over it.

Run Your Car for Fifteen Minutes

Cars that don’t get a good run out will end up with a battery that eventually wears down. If you don’t want to go to the expense of replacing yours, then running your car in neutral for a quarter of an hour once a week will keep it topped up. You don’t have to go anywhere but stay behind the wheel while the engine is running since you should still be vigilant against potential theft.

MOT and Servicing

The government has said it will relax the rules over MOTs during the lockdown period. However, that does not mean cars can be left to go into an unroadworthy state. If your tyres are nearly worn down, for example, then you could end up in trouble with the police regardless of the current situation. If you drive on some of Scotland’s busier roads, such as those in Stirling, then you should seek out a tyre and servicing centre that remains open for this essential work. Fife Autocentre has the right tyres in Stirling and it operates with sterilised garages, too – a good thing to know.

Check your oil

Oil checks are advisable every once in a while as a part of normal car maintenance. If your vehicle has not been driven for a prolonged period, however, then it is especially important to look at. Your sensor may not give you a correct reading and after three months or so, you could do with a top-up. Check your oil level using the dipstick when the engine is cool for the best results.