Wipers and more: caring for a ‘cocooned’ car

Chances are you’re using the car a lot less during the lockdown – and if your parents are over 70 they shouldn’t be using theirs at all during their ‘cocooning’. While that means lower fuel bills and less wear and tear, there can be downsides to leaving a car unused for a long period of time.

Let’s start with our windscreen wipers – where else? Rubber from the windscreen wiper blades can end up sticking to the windscreen, if not used for an extended period. A simple tip to prevent this is to put some plastic wrap under the blades.

The battery is what most people will think of, and with good reason. Avoid a drained battery by disconnecting it – the negative terminal first, then the positive terminal, never allowing the two terminals to touch. Rubbing petroleum jelly on the terminals to prevent rust is also a good tip.

Park indoors if you can or consider using a car cover (something we rarely do in this country!). However, do not deploy a cover if parking in a garage, as any moisture inside will evaporate slower.

Here’s an unusual one – it makes sense to keep a full tank of fuel in an idle car, as it can prevent rust forming on the inside by keeping moisture from entering the tank.

If the vehicle is standing idle for a long period, flat spots may occur on the wheels. Prevent this by jacking the wheels off the ground or positioning your car on blocks of wood, keeping the tyres off the ground. And check your tyre pressures once the lockdown is over!

Cover the air intakes and exhaust with cloths to prevent insects from getting in. (Leave a note on the steering wheel to remind yourself to remove them).

Finally, it’s a good idea to clean your car before storing it away, as dirt can cause lasting damage.

Keep safe!