How to Look After Your Car Throughout the Year

It can be difficult to look after your car, but here are the tips to help you and your vehicle get through the year.

How do I look after my car's battery?

Batteries hate the cold, coupled with the car not being used for at least four weeks could spell bad news. 

If you’ve ever been on a two-week (or longer) holiday, you’d have noticed the car is slower to get started than when you use it daily and that’s due to the battery discharging while it was out of use.

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So there’s even more of an excuse to get out, enjoy some fresh air, and take your car for a spin once per week, even if it’s just to your local supermarket, to get the car’s juices flowing again.

How do I look after my car's brakes and tyres?

Regardless of where your car is left while you endure lockdown, try to leave it on flat ground with the handbrake released and the car in gear as the handbrake could seize up which would be far from ideal when you come to use it again.

If you are to do this, however, you would need to put some blocks behind the wheels to ensure it doesn't roll away. But, if you don’t have any to support your car during this time, then a weekly drive should keep everything ticking over. Brake discs and tyre treads can also erode quickly when you don’t use the car for a period of time.

How do I preserve my car's fuel?

One key thing to note here is that you should under no circumstances try to hoard fuel in case of whatever emergency you are expecting to come. 

Not only is it hazardous but also illegal to keep more than 30 litres without a license. Furthermore, many are unaware that fuel has an expiry date and your car will not perform to its best capabilities if that date has been met.

You can keep things fresh by brimming your tank which will prevent a build-up of air and prolong the life of your fuel. When it comes to driving again, double-check your fuel lines and seals for any unusual signs such as dryness or fatigue.


Where should I leave my car overnight?

If you are lucky enough to have a garage at your disposal, do try and make some space inside to keep your car while it’s out of use. Keeping it inside will reduce its chances of being covered in moss, dirt and rust as well as general day-to-day weathering and bird droppings.

If however your car will be left on the driveway or at the side of the road, that’s okay, but it may be a good idea to invest in a car cover, which is easily accessible to buy online. 

If that isn’t for you though, that’s absolutely fine, but you should check both the interior and exterior every few days just to ensure everything is looking as it should, just in case.

What's the best type of security for my car?

With your car lying dormant for several weeks or more, there’s an increased security risk, particularly if your car is parked away from your house or down a dimly lit road.

It sounds obvious but always keep your car locked with your windows shut all the way up. There are thieves out there that will try to open car doors on the off-chance it hasn’t been secured, and it could be yours.

Avoid leaving valuables in the car, especially in plain sight and you could invest in a steering lock which acts as a deterrent in itself.

Always keep your car keys away from windows and the front and back door of your house too, as it makes the life of a thief that much easier if they are left in easier-to-access areas.

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What documents do I need for my car?

If you are working from home or just generally in and around your house more often during this period, it might be a good opportunity to readdress your vehicle documents, ensuring everything is in order and you haven’t lost anything.

Insurance, road tax and MOT are three obvious things to keep on top of, so just make sure everything has been paid and is still valid.

You could also look into the payment holiday scheme set up by the FCA, which we covered last week if you are looking to save yourself the extra financial stress of paying for your car finance while your vehicle is out of action.

What happens when I drive again after time off?

If you follow the above then your vehicle will be in the same condition as you left it. 

It might be useful just to give it a quick wash to remove any dust or dirt accumulated and to check your fluids - it’s better to be safe than sorry.


How do you extend the life of your car?

Drive carefully and sensibly, get an annual service and MOT when the time comes, always keep your tires inflated to avoid them popping, reduce your air conditioning use, and don't keep heavy items in your car unnecessarily.

How do you keep your new car looking nice?

Ensure you regularly wash it to avoid any dirt sticking to the car, dry your car properly to avoid smears and marks, and try to avoid car washes in the first few months at least.