With most of the UK population now behind closed indoors due to Covid-19, the majority of people now staying at home will see their cars sitting idle. For those who are still getting behind the wheel, journeys will be mainly for essential work, shopping for necessities or assisting others – or in case of emergency.

Whether in regular use or not, looking after your vehicle is paramount to ensure it is safe and ready to drive whenever needed.  It will also help minimise repair costs.  With this in mind, the driver safety experts at Nextbase have formulated the following Top 10 Tips for keeping your car both safe, and properly maintained, during quarantine:

1)     Consider where you park your car:  Use your garage, or off-street parking if you can, for added security. If parking on the street, consider buying a high-quality car cover to protect your car’s paintwork from nature’s elements.

2)     Installation of in-car devices: Consider installing a Dash Cam for added protection. All ofNextbase’s Series 2 Dash Cams possess an Intelligent Parking Mode feature, which records any bump or physical movement on the vehicle when left unattended. The G force sensor will register movement of any bump and the Dash Cam will automatically turn on, record for 30 seconds and then shut back down again. High quality video files can easily be sent to the owner’s smartphone using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology.

3)     Added protection from theft: Fit a steering wheel lockor wheel clamps which will act as a deterrent for thieves, along with the presence of the Dash Cam itself, available from Halfords.

4)     Protect your vehicle’s identity:  Secure anti-theft number plate bolts to your car to protect your identity.

5)     Keep the fuel tank full: This will limit condensation in the fuel tank, which will in turn prevent rusting.

6)     Look after your car’s battery: Switch on your car’s engine every two weeks, which will stop the battery running flat. Some older vehicles will need to be taken out for a short five-minute drive every week or so too.

7)     Care for your brakes:  Use wheel chocks (wedges of sturdy material) instead of the handbrake to stop your car rolling and prevent the brake pads sticking. Also, leave your car in first gear and remember to check you have enough brake fluid to ensure your brakes work properly.

8)     Use any spare time to do the jobs you keep putting off: This could include waxing your car to help to remove small scratches – wash your car first to take off any grime and dirt. Or, indeed, install that Dash Cam that you have had plugged into the cigarette lighter for months. Nextbase offers hardwire kits for self-installation for £20.

9)     Review your paperwork:  Take time to check over your current policies and bring yourself up to date with any changes resulting from the Coronavirus outbreak. For example, the Government’s statement this week reveals that vehicle owners will be granted a six-month exemption from MOT testing.

10)  Clean, clean, and clean again: Stock up your car with a pack of sterilising wipes, tissues, and a bottle of hand sanitiser (containing at least sixty-percent alcohol). Ensure the interiors of your car are thoroughly wiped down after each trip, paying particular attention to the steering wheel, dashboards, gear stick and door handles. Research suggests that the Corona Virus is stable for several hours (even days) on some surfaces. Wipe down items like fuel pumps and wear rubber gloves, which are sometimes available at the pump.

Bryn Brooker, Head of Marketing at Nextbase comments: “At such an unusual and challenging time for everyone, we want to reiterate to all vehicle owners to take good care of both themselves and their vehicles. It is important to follow these steps that will not only save you money in the long run, but also to keep you occupied and fulfilled during this time. Fitting a Dash Cam is a logical and easy way to keep your car protected, and the Intelligent Parking Mode feature is an excellent deterrent against criminal damage and theft, providing added peace of mind. Ultimately, leaving your car inactive for a while means you will need to make thorough checks. This is vital to ensure the roads are safe when non-essential journeys can be made again”.