Car parked for 21 days; Will it start after the lock-down?

Used to driving your car to work every day? And now it is sitting at home; just like you!? Here are some easy tips on making sure your car will still start and drive after being in coronavirus “storage” for 21 days or more.

Preventative measures

Here are some easy steps to make sure your car is safe. And to give it the best chance of starting up again, after the lock-down.

Switch everything off

Here are some easy steps to make sure your car is safe. And to give it the best chance of starting up again, after the lock-down.

Park Safely

Park in a safe spot. Not on the road. Behind a locked gate. Under cover if you can. If you have avehicle sheet or cover, now is the time to use it. So your car is protected from the weather, and from unwanted attention!

Disconnect the battery

The key reason a car struggles to start after being in storage for a while, is the battery being flat. The best way to prevent your car battery from going flat is to disconnect it. To disconnect means you remove both cables that are attached to the battery. And you must make sure those cables do not touch each other, or any part of your car.

Scared of fiddling with the battery?

If you don’t feel safe to disconnect the battery, then you can keep it healthy by starting your car every four days. And then you idle the car for ten to fifteen minutes. For most cars, this will keep the battery healthy for the three weeks lock-down.
When you get in your car to start it up, are you wearing protective gear? Or have you already cleaned your car’s interior?

Try to NOT use the handbrake

If you leave the handbrake on for weeks, it can get stuck. It is much safer to make sure your car is parked on a flat surface. Put it in gear, because then the engine holds the car in place. And put rocks in front of the wheels and also behind the wheels.

Before you start your car

Reconnect the battery. Remove stones that are in front of and behind your wheels. Check the radiator and oil levels.
Is it struggling to start? Don’t keep on trying, you will just damage the battery. Call your mechanic.

Once you have started your car

Let the car idle for five minutes. Are there any red warning lights still on in front of you? If there are, switch off and contact your mechanic. Make sure the steering wheel lock is disengaged. Can you easily turn the steering wheel from side to side?

If there are no warning lights, then go to your nearest petrol station and check the oil and radiator water levels. Then check your tire pressure. In most cars there is a sticker just inside the door on the driver’s side, when the door is open, showing how much the tire pressure should be. Since petrol prices have fallen by nearly two Rand per liter in April, you might want to fill up as well!

Book a service, so that a proper mechanic can check out the whole car to ensure your peace of mind!