22nd July 2020

Starting your car after lockdown

By Kris Lewis
Motor Manager
Car on driveway

As most of us haven’t been able to travel anywhere or visit anyone since the start of lockdown, we haven’t had the need to start our vehicles since the end of March. This has led to many drivers suffering trouble when they’ve come to start their engines once again. Cars are designed to be used and when they aren’t for a long time, parts can get rusty, and engine and transmission fluids start to break down.

Please see our tips below to keep you and your passengers safe.


Flat batteries

Flat batteries are the most common problem faced. When trying to start your vehicle for the first time, clean any corrosion and residue away from the terminals to allow a clear connection to the battery. Also remember to check your battery’s age, as anything over five years has a higher risk of failure.


Electric vehicles

EVs and PHEVs rely on an auxiliary battery to power their systems, meaning they can also go flat just like a standard ICE vehicle. Maintaining these batteries differs between manufacturer, but many suggest putting the vehicle in ‘ready mode’ for a length of time every few weeks to recharge it. It is also recommended that you should not let the main higher voltage battery drop below 30% when not in use. Please check your vehicle’s manual for more details.


Tyres

When planning to drive your vehicle again, make sure to check your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure for both safety and to ensure you do not suffer from a flat tyre whilst out and about.


Brakes

Brakes are the most important part of a vehicle as these are what allow us to stop! Please be sure to test your brakes thoroughly before driving again for the first time in a while; this includes checking the brake fluid. Also, if your handbrake has not been released for a while you may find that it sticks when using it for the first time. If you pull away gently it should free itself.


Fluids

Make sure to check all fluid levels before making a trip, including engine coolant, oil, and power steering fluid. These fluids can begin to break down if they’ve been left over a long period of time. If you haven’t used your car at all for months, it is suggested that you drain both your oil and petrol/diesel and refill. Also, remember to check under your bonnet in case anything is living or nesting there!


Don't leave it to chance!

If you don’t currently have breakdown cover including ‘home start’, give us a call. We can offer an excellent service alongside your insurance policy with us to keep you on the move.

For any further help or advice, please give a member of our team a call.