How to take care of your inactive car when working from home
As the UK shifts towards more flexible working schedules, around 30% of the UK’s workforce is now working from the comfort of their kitchen or living room at least once a week.
In this respect, it is fair to say that we are not the only ones staying home more often. Our cars have been sitting idly on our driveways too. In fact, car use in 2021 remained 23% lower than before the pandemic. With an impressive 307% increase in online job adverts for remote roles, UK drivers are bound to use their vehicles much less for the foreseeable future.
Ultimately, flexible working has now become an essential prerogative for most employees. This means that commutes to the workplace will continue to be less frequent, and our cars will stay parked in our garages on a regular basis. But, in the long run, inactivity can negatively affect the overall performance and condition of your vehicle.
How should you take care of your unused car? Here are a few suggestions on how to keep your vehicle healthy when it’s left static.
This may come as a surprise, but car batteries can drain even when the vehicle is not tooting around town. Why? Because cars still have work to do when inactive. In fact, alarms and other sensors need to be alert and function at all times. Not only that but the age and condition of the vehicle can also affect the longevity of its battery life.
Therefore, keeping your car’s battery levels up is essential. If not, crucial components that ensure your vehicle is safe, including theft alarms, will not function properly, leaving your car vulnerable.
A good, ‘healthy’ car battery will maintain a two-week charge before it needs reloading. Hence, make sure to take your vehicle for a short ride every couple of weeks to get its charge back up. However, if your car is old, it may be wise to go for a 15-minute drive once a week instead.
Hybrid and electric vehicles are certainly more sustainable than their diesel and petrol counterparts, but they do share some similarities. For instance, they all operate using the same 12-volt batteries, which means EVs can lose their charge too. This said, both hybrid and electric vehicles can be recharged in a different manner.
Pressing the start button is all you need to do, as it will automatically initiate the charging system. Do this once a week for 10 minutes and your battery will always be in perfect condition.
Other EVs can stay charged if they are kept plugged into their main chargers. Check with dealerships such as Volvo Croydon or browse your vehicle’s handbook – they will give you all the information you require.
Keep the wheels turning
As mentioned, getting the wheels turning can work wonders on your car battery. Regular, short trips around the neighbourhood will ensure that its engine and breaks are always in good condition.
You can leave your vehicle parked for as long as you wish but if your car is inactive for a considerable period of time, its breaks may eventually seize up. Short drives from time to time will prevent unwanted maintenance issues, helping you stay safe on the road.
Storing your vehicle
There is no denying that not all drivers have a spacious garage to store their cars. Most people, in fact, keep their car outside and need to take some steps to preserve the health of their vehicle.
One way to do this is to give your car a good clean before leaving it. Indeed, this will safeguard your vehicle from potential damage to its paint, while also reducing the chance of rust. What’s more, you may want to consider buying a vehicle cover that protects your four-wheeled companion from rain and water.
Moreover, secure your vehicle by leaving blocks behind its wheels. To prevent any rolling while your car is static, make sure to keep it out of neutral gear.
If you are planning to leave your vehicle inactive for a while, you may be able to spare yourself some precious money. By making a ‘Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN)’, you might have the chance to claim a refund on your car tax.
If you have the opportunity to store your vehicle indoors, it is important to ensure that the space is adequately ventilated. Remember – fuel fumes are toxic, so don’t turn on the engine in an enclosed area!
Getting back on the road
If the time has come to begin commuting to the office again or to use your car more regularly, you may want to take into account some aspects. But what should you do before hitting the road again?
- Check the pressure of your tyres
- Make sure your brakes are in a suitable condition and test them for seizing
- Ensure your vehicle has no damage on its undercarriage or below its bonnet
- Has your vehicle had an MOT? Has it been taxed? This will cancel your SORN
- Keep an eye on fluid levels and check how often your oil needs changing
With more and more employees working from home, cars are not being driven as often as they used to. If you are embracing a flexible work schedule, follow these tips to ensure your car is ready to sit static.
Photo by Elena Kuchko