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Going Away? Make Sure Your Car is Well Kept – On and Off the Road

1st December 2017

Going Away? Make Sure Your Car is Well Kept – On and Off the Road

Most of us use our cars frequently, but occasionally your car will be off the road and go undriven for a longer period of time. Whether you are going on an extended holiday or recovering from an injury or operation and unable to drive, there are some simple things you can do to make sure your car is fit to drive when you are ready to get back on the road.

If You’re Off the Road for a Month...

If you are not going to be using your vehicle for up to a month, make sure your anti-freeze is topped up, particularly if you are going away over the winter. If you have taken your car off the road, leave the handbrake off and chock the wheels; if it is in a garage, leave the windows ajar for ventilation. Ask someone to start the car occasionally and run it for a few minutes to recharge the battery.

If You’re Off the Road for 3 Months...

In addition to the above, make sure you:

  • Clean the car before you take it off the road.
  • Fill up the fuel tank. This will reduce the chance of condensation in the fuel tank, which can lead to water in your fuel, corrosion and bacterial and fungal growth.
  • Ensure the car is dry, if you are storing it in a sealed unit, such as a garage.
  • If it is off road, apply for a refund on road tax and complete a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification).

If You’re Off the Road for Over 3 Months...

Do all of the above. Lubricate your locks before you go and get an oil and filter service.

On Your Return

Don’t just assume that your car will run smoothly if it hasn’t been used for a while.

  • Make sure your car has a valid MOT and tax (when you tax your vehicle, it will cancel the SORN, if you had one).
  • Check your tyre pressure.
  • Check under your bonnet for unwanted guests: nests and nibbled pipes.
  • Check all fluid levels before you try to start the engine.
  • Book a service as soon as you return.

Once you have made all the relevant checks, start your car gently and slowly to check your brakes and handbrake.

If you are not sure when you are likely to use your car again, it could be worth looking into secure storage to ensure that your car is protected from the elements. Another option is to ensure a trusted friend or family member to drive your vehicle while you are unable to use it.

For information and advice about storing your car while you are away, contact a local garage.