Ahead of the partial relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, Continental Tyres Ireland and its network of 28 BestDrive tyre and car servicing outlets (formerly Advance Pitstop) are advising motorists to take a few precautions before jumping straight back into the car.
Car battery: Most modern car batteries should be able to cope with a period of inactivity similar to what we have just gone through without going flat, in particular, if you were wise enough to ensure to disconnect any devices that could drain power from the battery (GPS / phone chargers / dash-mounted camera / screens for kids). However, don’t wait until you are ready to head off on a trip, check the battery by starting the car and, ideally, drive the car for 20 – 30 minutes every few days to ensure that the alternator fully recharges the battery.
If you find that your battery has gone flat, it is better to charge it in place rather than to disconnect and remove it. Electronic systems in modern vehicles can trigger error messages or lose data when the power supply is interrupted, which then may require a visit to the garage workshop to be reset. It is enough to check the voltage from time to time and recharge the battery as soon as it drops below 12.4 volts.
Tyres: If a vehicle has not been moved for some period of time, the tyres will need to have their air pressure topped up as air will have escaped from the tyres during the long period of inactivity. Incorrect tyre pressures adversely affect the fuel efficiency of a vehicle and in extreme cases, a vehicle can become unsafe due to very low tyre pressure. Under normal circumstances, it is advisable for motorists to check their tyre pressures at least every two weeks or so.
For most premium tyres, the use of anti-ozonant elements in their manufacture has remedied the traditional problem of tyres cracking due to prolonged exposure to the sun on vehicles parked up for a long duration. However, many cheaper budget brand tyres do not have these elements so if your vehicle has such tyres, watch out for this problem.
Fluid levels: Check for oil & fluid levels – windscreen washer, brake fluid and coolant – if any of them need to be topped up, get along to your garage or car service outlet and get them sorted before you start back to ‘normal’ driving.
Tom Dennigan of Continental Tyres Ireland commented: “It has been a long couple of months for us all, but as we look forward to the partial easing of the COVID-19 restrictions, these easy and quick to carry out vehicle checks will ensure our return to the roads is both safe and problem-free – safe driving one and all”.