Everything you need to know about vehicle maintenance in coronavirus lockdown
PUBLISHED: 13:40 17 April 2020 | UPDATED: 13:40 17 April 2020
Car washing during the national lockdown may be a way for some people to get out of the house, and essential for others travelling to work. But can people wash their car during lockdown?
Washing a vehicle could be one of a few ways that would allow people to go outside and stay active during lockdown, but questions have been raised over whether the public are allowed to give their cars a clean or take it for repairs.
The government is currently ordering UK residents to stay in as much as possible in a bid to protect the NHS and save lives.
Here is everything you need to know about keeping your car maintained during lockdown.
Can I wash my car during lockdown? The government is currently ordering residents to stay in except for essential travel to work if you’re unable to do so from home, an hour’s exercise, essential travel for food or medicine or volunteering to help a vulnerable person.
Car washing counts as neither an essential journey nor exercise, according to Dr Hillary Jones, who spoke on Good Morning Britain earlier this week.
While car washes themselves have been closed down as they are not deemed ‘essential’, you are still allowed to wash your car at home but only if it is necessary.
Dr Hilary said the only reason you should be washing your car is if your view is restricted because of the dirt.
“Washing your car is non-essential”, Dr Hilary said, “Apart from being able to see through the windscreen for safety.”
When it comes to key workers, disinfecting your car regularly can help reduce the transmission of germs when still using it to drive to and from work.
As the steering wheel is the most touched part of your interior, wipe it down with anti-bacterial wipes or an alcohol-based disinfectant.
It’s also important to regular clean control stalks, dashboard and keys.
Can I get my car repaired during lockdown? Many garages and car repair services in the UK are still open for urgent problems, as they are classified as an essential business.
They will continue to offer the normal services but have also been asked to practice social distancing and zero contact methods of vehicle handover to protect staff and customers.
Cars must be kept safe to drive on the road, or drivers could face prosecution.
Do I need to tax my car during lockdown? Not paying car tax could free up extra cash at a time when finances might be tight. But not following the rules properly could result in a hefty fine.
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While the rules on car MOTs have been relaxed as a result of Covid-19, the rules on car tax haven’t changed.
If you are still driving your car you must tax it as normal and if you’re caught without having paid car tax, you can be fined up to £1,000.
However, it has always been possible to avoid paying tax by stopping driving completely and officially informing the DVLA that you’re taking your vehicle off public roads. This is known as Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).
You can only SORN your car if you are able to keep it on private land, such as in a garage or on your driveway. Cars parked on public roads must still be taxed.
Do I need to insure my car during lockdown?
Regardless of how long the lockdown lasts, motorists who keep their car on public land will still have to pay their insurance – even if it is not in use.
Insurance policies can be renewed online as usual, and most providers remain contactable through the normal channels.
What do I do if my car needs an MOT during lockdown?
MOTs that expired on or after March 30, 2020, have been given an automatic six-month exemption.
This will extend the expiry date of your current MOT by this length of time.
Your MOT history can be checked online to see when the exemption was issued. It may not be updated immediately, so you might need to keep checking back.
The extension will be added automatically so drivers with an MOT due can relax.
How do I prevent a flat battery in lockdown?
Drivers who have not driven their car since the coronavirus lockdown could suffer a false start when they next get behind the wheel, RAC has warned.
The best way to make sure your car makes it through being idle or significantly reduced usage is to keep its battery healthy.
Using a battery conditioner or trickle charger will keep energy-sapping components from draining your battery completely.
Repeated short journeys will flatten your battery faster than usual, which is even more reason to follow the government’s guidance to shop for necessities as infrequently as possible.
You should avoid turning your engine on, only to turn it off again shortly after.
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