Motoring Discussion > Keeping the car ticking over during isolation Miscellaneous
Thread Author: henry k Replies: 60

 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - henry k
With the prospect of my car sitting in the drive for three months what can / should I do to
reduce any affects from no use?

Unlike leaving it and going on holiday for three months I do have the opportunity to give it a little TLC.
I cannot drive it out of my drive and down the street.
I can only move it a few feet back or forwards.

The one year old battery can easily be kept charged.

The car can be started, warmed up and moved enough to clean the disks a little.

My son could take it for a drive, say once a fortnight and me avoid it for a week afterwards ?
He is insured to drive it as a back up if needs be so I will not SORN it.

Apart from " forget it! It will survive " any other thoughts?




 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Lygonos
Make sure the tyre pressures are kept decent to avoid permanent flat spots developing.

Doesn't really need much else for a modern car. As you say a decent run every week or two will help the battery stay topped up, and prevent the interior getting musty.

No reason not to take it for a drive yourself (unless HMG lock everyone down) - you get coronavirus from aerosol spread (ie being in the same space as someone coughing or where they have been coughing within the past minute or two) and touching surfaces that have been coughed on (hence the washing hands thoroughly).

Treat everyone as if they have it, and every surface as if it is contaminated and you'll be as ok as you can be.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - henry k
Thanks Lygnos.
I will open a window on the leeward side to ventilate it.

We have been in isolation for a week now.
I have to to stay within hearing distance of a panic ( non emergency) call from my spouse so I cannot move the car out of range off the drive.

If my son drives it can I assume that after a week totally avoiding it, any virus would have gone ?
He has his own key to the car, to arrive with, use and keep on him..
My instinct is to say I do not risk it.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - No FM2R
>>My instinct is to say I do not risk it.

I agree. Why take the slightest risk when you don't need to, especially when the [your] stakes are so high.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Lygonos
>>If my son drives it can I assume that after a week totally avoiding it, any virus would have gone ?

Aye. It apparently can last about 48 hours on a dry surface, and a couple more days if damp and not too hot.

If you can't go far then probably best just to let junior use it as per NoFM2R.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Zero

>> I cannot drive it out of my drive and down the street.

Why not, the inside of a car is isolation. take it for a quick spin round the block, enough to warm the fluids.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Falkirk Bairn
Self isolation does not mean you cannot go out!

Flask /water & sandwiches - off for a run. Park up, windows down or if it quiet go for a walk.

Car is better for a run, the driver & passenger are out of the house and blown away the cabin fever.

Repeat 1 x per week when it's a nice day.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Oldgit
>> Self isolation does not mean you cannot go out!
>>
>> Flask /water & sandwiches - off for a run. Park up, windows down or if
>> it quiet go for a walk.
>>
>> Car is better for a run, the driver & passenger are out of the house
>> and blown away the cabin fever.
>>
>> Repeat 1 x per week when it's a nice day.
>>

Well that was the case and my intention but on putting that idea out, elsewhere, I have been made to feel guilty and selfish because I was told it was irresponsible of me to do just that.
The reasons were that I might get involved in an accident or breakdown thus involving services that are only running at half cock.
Personally, I thought driving,say, to the Ashdown Forest, a round trip of about 60 miles or less and parking up and having a picnic in the car was OK but have been chastised over that suggestion.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Zero

>> Personally, I thought driving,say, to the Ashdown Forest, a round trip of about 60 miles
>> or less and parking up and having a picnic in the car was OK but
>> have been chastised over that suggestion.

Ignore them. The rules were brought in for the t***s who have no idea about risk management. As for accident? not with he roads as empty as they are.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - No FM2R
>>
>> >> I cannot drive it out of my drive and down the street.
>>
>> Why not, the inside of a car is isolation. take it for a quick spin
>> round the block, enough to warm the fluids.
>>

Because he cannot leave his spouse alone.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - sooty123
Is it possible she can go in the car with you?
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - bathtub tom
A good run of 5-10 miles once a week should see all temperatures up to normal, brakes used and tyres not flat-spotting. Do not start it and roll it backwards and forwards, that will only introduce condensation into the oil and exhaust and flat-spot the tyres.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - The Melting Snowman
If the car is a manual and doesn't have an electric handbrake and your drive is flat, I would leave it alone with the handbrake off and in gear. If the car is light enough then push it forward (or back) a couple of feet every few weeks to prevent the tyres developing flat spots. Buy one of those battery tenders and then relax.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - R.P.
In Isolation (Light)....bike ride of 40 miles today, visiting historic sites. Never went near anyone, never touched anything. Coffee in a flask. Covered approx 1000 years of history.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Haywain
Back in 2015/6, for the 5 months of October to February, we looked after our son's Eunos (MX-5 mk1). I kept the battery topped up as you will do, Henry, but I don't think we quite achieved our intention of doing a 10-12 mile per fortnight trip - mainly because I couldn't fit in it and my wife had to drive it. At the end of 5 months it was fine. It would be good if your son would take it for a spin for you. The only other thing that I'd add was that it has leather upholstery and a rag-top, so I used to keep a canister of dehumidifying crystals in there.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - henry k
Thanks to all for your suggestions.
Its an auto so it needs starting to move it.

Son delivered groceries yesterday and took the car for a spin then filled up the tank as it was very low.
No point in having a car for emergency use with little fuel.
It is highly possible he will do a short trip when he next delivers stuff.
Of course he does not hand the keys back directly.

The 8 month old Yuasa battery is very easily dealt with. I have an old type charger, LIDL / CTEK and two Lithium jump starters. Total overkill :-).

In the past I nursed my daughters Yaris for a year, while she was working in AUS, with a weekly run about. it is still OK and now 20 years old.



 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Kevin
Henry,

Jag electrical systems are notoriously fussy about battery voltage. Either keep it permanently on your battery conditioner or run the engine every week or so until everything has thoroughly warmed up. Alternatively you could disconnect the battery although that would need you to reset the radio, windows and parking brake (5 mins max).
If it gets to the stage where you need to jump start it you're heading for a permanently damaged battery.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Haywain
From what I understand, things have moved on a bit since Henry first posted on this topic. At that time, I envisaged taking my car out for a 20 mile run every couple of weeks in order to keep the battery topped up, avoid flat-spots etc - but now it seems that police are stopping people and asking why they are out on the road. Would the police accept that I was taking the car out for a spin to stop it seizing up?
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Duncan
No. You tell them that you are driving to Fortnum and Mason to stock up with essential foodstuffs. We are allowed to do that aren't we?
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - CGNorwich
Strictly no. It’s an unnecessary journey. You can of course drive to a supermarket in Thetford for groceries
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - PeterS
You can also drive to assist someone in the ‘vulnerable’ category. So, if you yourself are in that category I see no reason why you can’t drive it to help yourself. After all, it’s making sure the cars going to work when you need it ;)
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Haywain
"You can also drive to assist someone in the 'vulnerable' category. So, if you yourself are in that category I see no reason why you can't drive it to help yourself. After all, it's making sure the cars going to work when you need it ;)"

Well, I am 70 and have CKD grade 3 or, at least, I had before they removed the dodgy kidney - however, for the purposes of this exercise, I am still grade 3. So you are absolutely correct, Peter, I need a reliable car in case we have an emergency dash to hospital.

A shopping visit to Thetford - also a great idea, but it would involve crossing the border into Norfolk, and that carries its own risks. ;-)
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Falkirk Bairn
Son is doing the food supply - he takes a trolley & the granddaughter takes another.
2 lots of food - leaves it at the back door.

Nipped into the car last night around 8pm - roads deserted - 2.5 miles along the road, 4 miles on the motorway & 1.5 miles home.........the rear disks made a noise when applying the brakes at first - OK on return.

Car has had a run, likewise I felt a bit better - drove with the 2 front windows down - blew away the mental cob webs.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Robin O'Reliant
I took the dog for a walk at 4pm Saturday, part of the route being on the path alongside the A40 into Fishguard. The traffic level was something probably last seen on a Sunday morning during the mid sixties.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - R.P.
We've stopped taking the dogs with us when we do the in-law runs. We've got access to a farmer's field just down the lane at the moment. I've just come back from town after doing food drops from the food-bank which provides exercise for me physically and mentally and for the car - whazzed it home , no-one else around. Very quiet in the town.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Arctophile
My new BMW 118i (manual gearbox) is currently sitting on the drive with 100 miles on the clock. I haven’t moved it for ten days. I thought I would roll it down the drive for a few feet to avoid ‘square wheels’.

Does anyone know how to release a BMW electronic handbrake without starting the engine?

In my old BMW if you pressed the starter button, without depressing the clutch pedal, then all the electronics came to life – not on this one!
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - No FM2R
Can you not start the engine and let it run for a while?
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Zero
10 days wont make the wheels go square. If it were me, I would start it up and let it idle till its hot.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - legacylad
I was away for 10 weeks and my wheels still look roundish.....not a lot I can do in The circumstances apart from connect it to a CTEK smart charger.....this happens twice a year. I know it’s not good.

 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - No FM2R
I dunno, when I used to live in San Fran and travelled a lot my car used to get left for 3 months at a time. I never noticed it come to any particular harm.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Arctophile
I don't really expect the tyres to go square, I have left cars in airport car parks for a month at a time and many cars sit in compounds for months at a time. All without ill effect.

I was just sitting in the car, setting up the iDrive options, and discovered that I couldn't release the brake. Strange.

 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Zero
did you put your foot on the brake pedal when you released it?
Oh and is the door open? if the door is open on mine the handbrake is on.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Runfer D'Hills
Back in the late '80s / early 90s I was regularly working in Brazil for 3-4 months at a time. Then usually back in the UK for a couple of weeks or so before returning to Brazil. Had a Golf GTi 16V then.

Never gave it a thought, just used the car when I was back here and then left it outside my house while I was away. Never failed to start or run properly and certainly never noticed any tyre issues. I liked that little car. Black with tartan seats. Seemed quite quick for the time.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - legacylad
A pal of mine had a Mk2 Gti for many years....racked up over 200k miles in it. Replaced it with an A3 2.0 Tdi and regretted it within hours.
Myself I had a Mk1 Gti. Bought it privately from a serving officer who had to return to BAOR at very short notice. An unusual metallic green I recall ( AUM 880X). 1.6 with 105 horses. Loved it.
How I wish I’d kept photos of my old cars.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Runfer D'Hills
I had 2 consecutive mk2 Gtis. A white 1800 8V which was pretty basic in truth. Steel wheels, no PAS and I'm fairly sure it had wind up windows. Manual sunroof too though. Good fun but heavy to drive.

Then the black 16V, electric windows, PAS, biggish alloys etc, bit more body kit and of course the more powerful engine. Delightful thing to drive until it got nicked from outside my flat in Bath.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - slowdown avenue
I shall drain down the screenwash. saves it freezing or going real manky. as for tyres pump them up hard . give the car a push forward six inches next week. keep them out of the sun if possible. going to sorn it tomorrow and just use wifes car if need be.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - No FM2R
Why not alternate between the cars?
Last edited by: No FM2R on Tue 31 Mar 20 at 00:25
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Oldgit
Well I have taken our 2nd car for a 10 mile run this afternoon on the pretext of an abortive shopping visit to Waitrose at Biggin Hill.
I say abortive because there were about 20 people queuing outside and there is no way us over 80s were going to join that chilly wait. However did some unnecessary shopping at Tesco Express on the nearby corner and then home James!
It helped to blow away the cobwebs and I didn't see any harm in that (Famous last words)!

I now wait for the castigation that one generally gets on forums.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Runfer D'Hills
My wife had our dog castigated when he was a puppy.

Neither he, nor I have ever really properly forgiven her.

;-)
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - No FM2R
My parents castigated me regularly. As did my teachers.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Runfer D'Hills
How long will it take us to get to stories about camels and bricks?
;-)

 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - No FM2R
>>I now wait for the castigation that one generally gets on forums.

Can't think why, sounds like an entirely sensible trip, beneficial all round. For the car and your sanity.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Oldgit
>> >>I now wait for the castigation that one generally gets on forums.
>>
>> Can't think why, sounds like an entirely sensible trip, beneficial all round. For the car
>> and your sanity.
>>

I can't imagine the Government and their talking heads approving. though.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - No FM2R
Ah well, they have to manage the lowest common denominator, which you are clearly not.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Oldgit
>> Ah well, they have to manage the lowest common denominator, which you are clearly not.
>>

Good Lord, had I said that elsewhere, I would have got castrated!!!
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - No FM2R
I'm known for worrying about what people think about the things I say.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - tyrednemotional
>> I'm known for worrying about what people think about the things I say..........


.......for at least a nanosecond....
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - legacylad
You are Pinocchio and I claim my ten thousand peso
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Rudedog
Well OG looks like you and me visit the same shop!

As my previous posts I went to Waitrose on Friday at 8am to join the queue of elderly for the 'happy hour' before 9am, even though I'm dealing with CV-19 cases I just couldn't walk to the front of the queue, the line went back to the recycling bins by the Tesco Express you went in, took me an hour to get to the doors then went straight in.

The test will be when the weather changes and the queues are out in the pouring rain, not sure how the same people will be able to put up with that for over an hour!

 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Dave_
Cars are pretty resilient things. At my work we leave new and not-so-new vehicles in compounds in all weathers for months on end with no ill effects.

The worst you could expect is a flat battery; easily resolved especially at one's house. I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Normal driving when you eventually can will unstick all manner of stuck things: windows, brakes, seat runners, air vents.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Fullchat
Could I suggest that if the car isn't being used that parking brakes are left off and the car stored in gear. Particulary if the last car journey was wet. The pads/shoes can nigh on weld to the disc/drum.
When I was working the driving school cars were always washed and leathered at the end of the day. Due to brake problems that changed to the morning before prior to use. All due to brake problems. Ive just had to replace rear discs and pads on daughters Picanto. Not high mileage from the last full replacement 3 years ago but all seized, badly worn and the friction material had come away from the steel backing. (Pagid so not rubbish parts). Fronts were fine.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Duncan
>> Fullchat said...........brake problems..............
>>

One of the bones of contention with 'er indoors is that when she is driving and say, the lights ahead are red, she will insist on driving up to the lights and braking quite firmly. It offends me. I much prefer to lift off when you realise that the lights aren't going to change to green before you've got to them. My way saves fuel and the wearing components in the brakes. it's gentler all round on the car, too.

Mind you, I have found that if I keep my mouth shut, I have a quieter life and I get fed better!
Last edited by: Duncan on Wed 1 Apr 20 at 14:00
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - PeterS
It’s almost certainly cheaper to do it your way in a car that’s used reasonably often, and indeed is what I’ve always done. However, now that the cars are used much less frequently I am braking harder and later, just to get rid of the rust on the discs. The MINI has only just ticked over 12,000 miles (in 20 months), and the Merc 5,000 miles in 6 months.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Fenlander
Modern cars are usually fine standing for extended periods. Daughters 18yr old (but mint) Jazz just been for its MOT and passed without issues. It's been standing a year having covered just 34mls the day after the last MOT then nothing for a year. Tyres 5psi up on usual, handbrake left off, roll a few feet to/fro every couple of weeks to stop tyre flatting, charge battery and check tyre pressures every other month, don't start it at all.

The other day when I took it for MOT it was an instant start and ran smoothly immediately. No different to had it been in daily use.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - John Boy
Fullchat said: "Could I suggest that if the car isn't being used that parking brakes are left off and the car stored in gear. Particulary if the last car journey was wet. The pads/shoes can nigh on weld to the disc/drum."

I can see the logic of that, but what auto gearboxes? Are there any consequences of leaving a torque convertor automatic on a slope in P with the handbrake off?
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - No FM2R
>>Are there any consequences of leaving a torque convertor automatic on a slope in P with the handbrake off?

Well, on a gentle slope I've never worried about it and been doing it for years. But the mechanic who looks after my cars had a fit when I did it in the Explorer giving him a lift home a week or so ago.

It is apparently that the slope keeps the gearbox mechanisms under tension and when you drag it out of park into drive it causes a great deal of stress. He said brakes are cheaper than gearboxes.

Apparently the routine should be stop / parking brake / park.

What do I know? But he's pretty good so I've been using the parking brake ever since he said that. When I;m on a slope that is, not on the flat(ish)
Last edited by: No FM2R on Wed 1 Apr 20 at 22:05
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - John Boy
Thanks for that, FM. Since posting the question, I've looked elsewhere and found much the same answer. I asked because our drive has a slope. I'll be carryiing on using the handbrake.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - legacylad
Pal of mine has a steeply sloping drive down to his garage. His garage is full of expensive toys. Bikes. Kayaks etc
He often goes away for extended periods so lines up half a dozen old tyres against his up n over garage door then slowly rolls his car into them and leaves the handbrake off.
Extra garage security and no chance of the handbrake seizing. Works well.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - Kevin
When you select Park on a conventional TC box a little peg called a parking pawl is engaged inside the box which locks the output shaft to stop it moving. If the vehicle is on a slope and the parking brake is not applied the full weight of the vehicle is effectively held by that little peg. If it bends or, even worse, breaks you can be looking at expensive repairs.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - smokie
It's recommended you always use the brake when parking my leccy car. I gather it's not a true electrical brake but it's applied by pulling on a small switch not a big handle.

Also the knowledgeable people on the forum suggest you don't release it before pulling away as it releases automatically and this goes a small way towards preventing the inevitable rust build up due to lack of use of the brakes in normal running (due to high "engine" braking effect, like KERS).

There are some long layup routines for my car which include disconnecting the 12v to avoid parasitic drain, put a trickle charger on, and discharge the main battery to less than half full. There is a Transport Mode for longer layoffs but I've no idea what it does.

No recommendations for the ICE, which doesn't run very often anyway on my car. In fact a couple of times it has started when it usually wouldn't , to run a "service mode" for about 10 miles which I think it to ensure stale petrol is cleared out and maybe more.
 Keeping the car ticking over during isolation - No FM2R
>> If the vehicle is on a slope and the parking brake is not applied the full weight of the vehicle is effectively held by that little peg

No wonder the mechanic got all stroppy with me.

Well you live and you learn, though it has taken me rather a long time to learn that one. In some defence though, I have always used the brake on substantial slopes.
Last edited by: No FM2R on Thu 2 Apr 20 at 02:27
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