As the UK enters a third national lockdown, Kwik Fit is encouraging drivers to include some key car care measures into their lockdown routine to save their vehicles from damage.
In normal years, the fact that cars make fewer journeys over the Christmas holidays always leads to a spike in battery problems in the first weeks of January, helping to make battery problems the number cause of breakdowns in the UK.
The lockdown will make the situation much worse this year with the nation being encouraged to make only essential journeys and keep them as short as possible. With forecasters predicting wintry weather and lower temperatures, the problems these driving patterns bring to batteries will be magnified.
As essential businesses, garages can remain open during the lockdown to help drivers who need their battery replacing, but Kwik Fit’s experts have put together some key tips to help motorists avoid problems altogether:
- Batteries have to work harder to start an engine in colder weather – if possible, start the car during the middle of the day, not on a cold, frosty morning
- If a car is not being driven frequently, start it once or twice a week and run the engine for at least 15 minutes (the car must be outside and the driver should stay in the car)
- Assess the likelihood of upcoming problems – most batteries show their date of manufacture – a battery over five years old may be at risk of failure, especially if the car is not being used often
- If a car is parked on a driveway or garage, it could be connected to a trickle charger which can keep the battery charge topped up. Drivers should always follow the guidance in their owners’ handbook prior to using a trickle charger
- As well as checking the battery, drivers should check other items which are vital for winter driving, including levels of coolant/antifreeze and screenwash, condition of windscreen wiper blades and tyre tread depths and pressures.
For those drivers concerned about the condition of their battery, perhaps because their vehicle is becoming harder to start or the battery is over five years old, Kwik Fit offers a free battery health check in its centres.
Kwik Fit is also highlighting to motorists that there is no MOT exemption for this lockdown and therefore any cars whose MOT is expiring needs to pass a new test.
The current government guidance is clear that it is lawful to leave home to get an MOT, and that cars need an MOT if they are going to be used during lockdown.
The Department for Transport has announced a ban on tyres over 10 years old on any axle of minibuses with single wheels fitted or on the front axle of any lorry, bus or coach and takes effect on 1 February 2021.