Tips for self-isolating your car

Posted on March 26th, 2020 by GEM Motoring Assist

 

The current situation is involving us all in travelling less and households running several cars are looking to stop the use of at least one of them.

Should you plan to take a car off the road temporarily, we hope that the following tips are useful:

 

1. SORN – if you decide to cash in your car tax and make a Statutory Off Road Notification, the car must neither be used, nor parked, on a public road. It must be stored on private property.

 

2. Continuous Insurance Enforcement – should you decide to either cancel your insurance policy, or allow it to lapse, obviously you must not use the car but do not forget that a taxed car must be insured as well. Otherwise, you are likely to receive an automated fine. A SORN must also be declared.

 

3. Tyres – if you have access to a tyre inflator at home, increase the tyre pressures to a level that does not exceed the maximum recommended pressure that is marked on the sidewall. This will help to reduce the development of flat spots, while the car is standing unused. Never over-inflate the tyres and then drive home, because this is an offence.

 

4. Car batteries (12 volt) – lead-acid batteries deteriorate rapidly if not fully charged. Most cars discharge their batteries gradually – some cars flatten them entirely in as little as 2-3 weeks. Taking the car for a short drive is also unlikely to replenish a fairly flat battery, because this process can take at least 6-8 hours. We recommend that you use a Smart Charger and follow the manufacturer instructions carefully. This will prevent the battery from being badly damaged, by being left discharged (or ‘flat’). Consult the instruction manuals for both your car and your smart charger carefully. Note that most hybrid cars possess both a lead-acid 12v battery that can be recharged. If this is flat, the high voltage battery will not power-up.

 

5. Paintwork – be wary of parking your car in areas that can damage the paintwork, such as beneath trees. We recommend that you wash the car totally and apply a protective wax (not a polish), which will help to create a barrier and protect the finish. Keep an eye on the finish and ensure that damaging deposits, such as bird droppings, are cleaned away promptly.