Quick Lane

While the six-month suspension of MOT tests has come as very welcome news during the Coronavirus pandemic, it still remains extremely important to ensure the health of your vehicle is maintained throughout the lockdown period – a breakdown is a headache at the best of times, but could prove very difficult during the current climate, particularly if you’re a key worker travelling to and from work every day.

Even if you’re self-isolating due to the coronavirus, it’s reassuring to know that your car won’t let you down if you need to travel in an emergency. Fortunately, there are several checks you can perform yourself to keep your car in tip-top condition.

Why not follow our SAFETY rule and carry out some of the below checks at home, to provide you with peace of mind for when the 'lockdown' is lifted:

1. Screen

You might have noticed your windscreen isn’t quite as sparkling as you’d like it to be as we approach the summer months. As well as giving it a thorough clean, remember to check for any chips or cracks that may have appeared during the cooler, winter period. If you spot something, don’t ignore it – it’s not just unsafe but also means a failed MOT.

Don’t forget to top up your screen wash and give your wiper blades a check, too!

2. Air

With warmer weather (hopefully) on the way, you’ll want to be sure you can keep cool when you’re next out and about. It’s a good idea to check your air conditioning now, before it gets too hot, so you’re not left sweating. Keep a look out for reduced air flow or unpleasant smells at the same time, as these can be signs that your air filter needs changing.

3. Fluid

There are two different fluids that are essential to the function of your car whatever the weather; oil and engine coolant. Make sure you perform regular checks of your oil level, always on level ground with the engine off (but not completely cold), using the dipstick.

For the coolant, you’ll need to ensure the engine is cool before removing the coolant cap – it’s also advisable to use specific coolant designed for your vehicle, which contains additives to prevent corrosion.

4. Electrics

Maintaining batteries - During this lockdown period, you may not have moved your car for some time and this could have an effect on your battery performance. It's important to keep your battery maintained, we advise that you start your car at least once a week and let your car run for around 15 minutes. This will allow time for your battery to increase its charge, and it will also help circulate fuel and oil around the engine. An important note is to avoid turning your car on and off in quick succession, your cars starter motor requires battery power each time, and doing this won't fully replenish the battery unless it is given time to charge.
Maintaining other electrics - it’s a good opportunity to check the bulbs in your headlights – As well as your indicators and brake lights, as these see potentially more use than your headlights so require regular checking.

5. Tyres

Examining your tyres regularly for air pressure, wear, and damage such as splits, cracks and bulges is the best way to keep you safe. Ensure the tread depth is at least 1.6mm (the legal requirement), not forgetting the insides, too. To check this, simply turn your wheels to full lock.

A simple way to check your tread depth is by using a 20p coin – if the outer band of the coin is covered when inserted into the groove of the tyre, it’s above the legal limit.

It is also important to ensure your wheel alignment is correct, as this can damaged when driving over potholes and on uneven surfaces.

6. YOU 

At Quick Lane, we ensure your car is safe and roadworthy, but there are many other factors that can influence your driving. If you're tired, hungry or thirsty it can be a big distraction – warmer weather can be more tiring to drive in too, so plan regular breaks and stay hydrated while on the road. 

And while the Coronavirus pandemic continues (and beyond), it’s a good idea to clean and disinfect surfaces inside your car regularly, especially those you touch a lot like the steering wheel. And remember to wash your hands after driving. 

Selected Quick Lane centres remain open and committed to providing a vital service to key workers and businesses deemed vital for the Coronavirus response. 

Quick Lane wish you and your family the very best during this uncertain time.