Are you going to be leaving your car parked for a long period of time? If so, we have come up with a few useful tips to help you! This way, leaving your car parked should be less of a hassle as you’ll feel more prepared and ready. Not to mention, you’ll have a stress-free holiday!
Battery maintenance information
The biggest enemy of airport parkers is battery failure. The RAC says that batteries are most likely to go flat when the car has been left parked for a long period of time and that this is a particular risk in cold weather. Batteries need to be replaced on average every three to five years, so if yours is on its last legs, perhaps replacing it before you set off for the airport is a good idea.
What to look out for?
You can have your battery professionally checked but if you want to cut costs there are a few things to look out for yourself.
- Check that there are no cracks in the casing
- Check that there are no white or rust-coloured deposits on the terminals or connectors as this indicates corrosion.
- Make sure there are no bulges in the casing.
- Finally, a good give-away of battery troubles is when the interior lights are dim or will not come on at all.
Leaving your car in cold weather
- Check your tyre pressures before setting off for the airport to avoid coming back to find them dangerously under-inflated.
- Do not be tempted to reduce the pressure to get more grip in snowy conditions. According to the AA, it has no effect and reduces stability, making for a dangerous driving experience.
- If you’re leaving your car over Christmas, you should be considering the state when you get back, it could freeze over. You may have left the UK in benign conditions, but the weather in the UK can change quickly as we all know!
- Therefore, before you go, put a little silicone-based furniture polish on to a cloth and apply to the rubber door seals. This will stop them freezing.
- If you find that your locks are frozen, try warming your key with a cigarette lighter or one of the handy key-ring gadgets that are cheap to buy. Don’t breathe on the lock as the moisture in your breath will condense and freeze.
- Make sure your anti-freeze is kept at the correct level and avoid mixing different types.
- Ensure your windscreen wipers are left in the off position to avoid them freezing to the windscreen in your absence.
- Keep your windscreen washer topped up and use a suitable additive to avoid it freezing in winter.
- If you come back to snow, make sure you clear it thoroughly from your car before driving off.
- Don’t forget to pack an ice scraper and some de-icer spray.
- Finally, have details of your car breakdown membership so that if the worst comes to the worst you won’t be stranded!
Leaving your car in hot weather
Whilst the UK is not known for hot weather, we do get the occasional heatwave! Try to ensure that you can park your car in a covered area if possible, like using a multi-storey car park. If that’s not possible, make sure there’s nothing left in the car.
What to not leave in the car?
- A water bottle because if it’s hot enough, the plastic could potentially catch fire, now that is unlikely but it is better to be safe than sorry!
- Ensure you take your aerosol deodorant either with you or throw it out because if the temperature reaches higher than 48C, they can explode! Again, unlikely to happen in the UK but you don’t want to try your luck.
- Disposable lighters are again known to crack windowscreens in hot cars so make sure you don’t leave one lying around.
- Makeup! Luckily, this one won’t explode! But it can be ruined as normal makeup will melt if the temperature is above room temperature so better keep it in your purse!
- Medicines are another no-no, again, they won’t explode, thank god! But most medicine shouldn’t be taken if it’s over 25 degrees so you don’t want to accidentally take expired paracetamol when you’re back.
Additional things to consider:
- If you can, try to store your car in an indoor car park as that’s cleaner and safer but if not, then try to invest in getting a good car cover. However, a main problem that can occur is that rodents can get in so ensure that all the holes are covered up so a small animal cannot get inside.
- Make sure the tyres are inflated properly! This will ensure that there’s no cracking or flat spots.
- If you’re going to be away for a very long time don’t engage the handbrake because leaving the handbrake for a long period of time can result in brake pads not working properly. So, instead, use wheel chocks to stop the car from rolling and leave it in first gear.
- Try to pack a jump lead and other car accessories as they’re a handy thing to have in the boot, but make sure that you know how to use them. Read through the instructions several times before you leave for your holiday. Standing in a cold, dark car park is not the best time to try and figure out what to do.
- Better still is the “smart charger”, which will keep your battery topped up when required.
Things to do when you’re back on the road!
If you have not used the car for a long time, you need to consider the following:
- Make sure that the MOT and car tax are still for the current year and haven’t expired
- If you do need an MOT, you are only allowed to drive the car to the garage and the appointment has to be pre-booked
- Have a look at the tyre pressure
- Ensure that nothing is lying under the bonnet or has chewed through any of the pipes
- Double-check all the fluid levels, before you start the engine.
- Check all the brakes are working appropriately. If you did leave the handbrake on, they may be a little difficult to use at first, and try to use the first gear very carefully.
- Ensure the windshield wipers are working because the rubber can get brittle over time
- Even if the car is working in good order, it is recommended to have it fully checked out if you’ve left the car for a long time.