Regular vehicle maintenance is essential
In this guide we walk through some of the key maintenance issues that should be considered, to ensure your car or commercial vehicle is as safe as possible when your journeys may be less frequent.
Not only is it important to maintain the safety of your vehicle to avoid hefty, unexpected repair bills, but with regular servicing at a Manufacturer approved Service Centre such as Inchcape, you’re also protecting the long term value of your vehicle.
The battery is essential to the operation of a car or commercial vehicle but when driven less the battery gets less time to recharge. During the colder months the battery is put under increased strain from cold starts and heavier loads due to the vehicle's lights, heating and other features being on more. The colder the temperature gets, the slower chemical reactions within the battery can take place, which reduces performance.
Even when a vehicle is not being used, electrical items running in the background (such as security devices) can drain the battery. To keep the battery charged, start the car once a week and let it run for 15 minutes. Avoid turning your vehicle on and off again in quick succession as the starter motor uses battery power each time.
Ensuring you vehicle's battery has a good level of charge (approx. 75%) is important for optimal running. Book a health check with Inchcape to check your battery and other components to help prevent a break down.
If left for a while, a car's or commercial vehicle's brake discs can begin to corrode which can eventually lead to the brakes seizing together. If this happens the car will not be drivable and will require the attention of a technician to repair.
To prevent brake seizing, move the car backwards and forwards once a week to remove any corrosion. Corrosion is also sped up by road salt so wash the car to minimise any issues.
Brake pads and discs are consumable parts on a car which wear out over time. To be sure your brakes are safe get your car checked over by a technician, especially if your car has not been used for a while.
Book a service or MOT with Inchcape.
Coolant prevents an engine from freezing or overheating. The system is usually sealed and should not need topping up. However, it is a good idea to check the coolant is between the min and max in the reservoir.
Coolant will be checked during a service or healthcheck with Inchcape.
Lights are important to ensure you can see and be seen by other road users. Walk around the vehicle and check all the lights are working. Replace any that are not and regularly clean your lights, so they offer maximum performance and safety.
Lights around the vehicle will be checked as part of a healthcheck or MOT at Inchcape.
Tyres are the only part connecting you and your vehicle to the road. Ensuring that tread is above the minimum legal level of 1.6mm (and the advised 3mm in winter), as well inflated to the correct pressure, are all essential to ensure good grip and traction on the roads. Under inflated tyres increase fuel consumption which increases the running costs of driving a car.
Tyres should also be free of any damage or bulges as this can affect the vehicle's safety.
Tyres must be in good condition for your vehicle to be legal and to pass an MOT. Tyres are checked as part of an MOT or healthcheck at Inchcape.
Wipers can wear out over time and become less effective at clearing the windscreen. Replacing them is a simple and inexpensive job and will ensure your safety in poor driving conditions.
During the winter wipers can freeze onto the windscreen and using them can damage the wiper motors, therefore before driving off, ensure the wipers are not stuck to the windscreen by defrosting the vehicle first and lifting the wipers off the glass.
Wipers will be checked as part of an MOT or healthcheck at Inchcape.
When not using your vehicle for a while you may have decided to SORN your car but before you return to the road you must ensure your road tax and car insurance is up to date.
Electric and Hybrid Maintenance
Whilst electric cars feature fewer moving parts which means there are less components to wear and require servicing, electric cars still feature many of the same components as combustion engine cars. Such as tyres, lights, wipers, auxiliary batteries and still require tax and insurance.
Therefore, electric and hybrid cars and commercial vehicle's still require servicing and an MOT every year after the vehicle's third birthday, to ensure it is kept in optimum running condition and is legal and roadworthy.
Arrange a service or MOT with Inchcape today.
Book an MOT
Many car owners used the six-month MOT extension for cars which had an MOT due to expire between 30th March and 31st July in the first lockdown during 2020. This extension is not available in 2021, so if your car's MOT has expired then you need to arrange to have it tested before you can legally drive it on the road.
Inchcape remains open for essential services such as car servicing, health checks and MOTs.
If your vehicle is more than 3 years old, it is a legal requirement for you to have it MOT tested every 12 months. If your MOT has expired it is illegal to drive your car on the roads as it may not be roadworthy. It may be convenient and a good idea if your car has not been used for a while to book an MOT and service at the same time.
Book an MOT online today with Inchcape to ensure your car is roadworthy.