Preparing your car for the end of lockdown
After just over two months of lockdown, we’re all keen to get back on the road, and as restrictions begin to lift across the country, many of us will be gearing up to do just that. But as most drivers have cut down on travel since January, a great many vehicles have spent that time largely – or in some cases completely – unused.
Even when it isn’t being regularly driven, a car still requires maintenance, and it’s ultimately the driver’s responsibility to ensure that it’s roadworthy. So, as we ready ourselves to get back behind the wheel, here are a few simple checks that you can carry out to ensure that your car is ready for the road.
Check your tyres
It’s vital that you make sure your tyres are still in good condition. If you haven’t been using your vehicle, it’s likely that the tyre pressures won’t have been checked since before lockdown, so addressing this should be a top priority. Even when a car isn’t being driven, its tyres can still lose pressure, meaning they may be underinflated when you get back onto the road. Check your optimum pressure in the owner’s handbook, filler cap or on the door sill, and use a pressure gauge to ensure your tyres are properly inflated.
It’s also important to check your tyres’ tread, to ensure their depth is no less than 1.6mm. While they’re unlikely to have worn down during this last stint of lockdown, it’s good practice to check your tread depths regularly. If you haven’t yet had much opportunity to use your car this year, the end of lockdown presents a good opportunity to carry out a quick inspection. Look at the bars in-between the treads themselves, as well as the centre or outside edges, for obvious signs of wear and even for any embedded objects.
Check for debris
When a vehicle isn’t used for an extended period, it can easily begin to gather twigs and leaves, which have the potential to catch fire in a hot engine. So, to stop your car from overheating, make sure to inspect the grille and underneath the bonnet for any debris before setting off.
Check the fluid levels
Even under ordinary circumstances, fluid levels should be checked regularly. But if your car has gone completely unused for several weeks, it’s essential that you get under the bonnet and check if the oil, brake fluid and engine coolant need topping up. Engine oil in particular can drip to the bottom of the drain pan when a car hasn’t been driven in a while, meaning the cylinders might be dry. In cases such as these, it may even be wise to have a garage carry out a complete oil and filter change.
Check your lights
You might be so caught up with checking your oil and fluid levels that it can be easy to overlook your lights. Before setting off, take a moment to check that all of your lights are still in working order. So not just your headlights, but also your braking, reverse and indicator signals too. The last thing you want is to wait until you’re driving on a dark road to discover you’re missing a light.
Don’t set straight off
Finally, if your car hasn’t been used at all since January, don’t go tearing off your drive the moment you’ve fired it up. Once you’ve turned the ignition, don’t even rev it. The engine will need a little time to warm up, so just let it idle for a few moments before you set off.
Goodyear is one of the world's largest tire companies. It employs around 62,000 people and manufactures its products in 46 facilities in 21 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio, and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg, strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry.
For more information about Goodyear and its products, go to www.goodyear.com/corporate.