Our tips to safely get back on the road
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  • Our tips to safely get back on the road
  • 16 April 2021
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    Our tips to safely get back on the road

    Recently, car usage has decreased and vehicles have spent more time on the drive than on the road. With the easing of restrictions currently ongoing it is crucial that we make sure our vehicles are as ready for day-to-day life as we are so here are a few tips on how to get your vehicle ready.

Tax, Insurance and MOT

The government allowed a six-month extension to people whose MOT was going to expire between 30th March and 31st July 2020, however as of 1st August 2020 this was removed so all vehicles should now have a valid MOT. If you haven’t already, we recommend getting your vehicle MOT booked in as soon as possible. You can book your MOT or service with West Way by clicking here 

It’s illegal to drive a vehicle that isn’t taxed so we encourage motorists to look into their tax and ensure that their vehicle is up to date as soon as possible.

We also encourage all customers to check that their vehicles insurance hasn’t run out and if it has, they should have their vehicle insured before driving as it is illegal to drive without insurance. There are a number of websites which will allow you to find a competitive price.


Tyre pressure and tread depth

The recommended tread depth for a car is 1.6mm and 1mm for motorbikes however if you take a look into your vehicles handbook you will find the exact number there. It is highly dangerous and a fineable offence to have a lower tread depth and tyre pressure so for your own safety and that of others we encourage all drivers to review the tread depth of their vehicle.


Vehicle Health Checks

This is something you can do at home or you could take advantage of our great Spring health check offer for only £39 by clicking here

If you would like to do this yourself however it is recommended that you follow the below list:

  • Test your vehicles Lights, brake, seat belts, steering, demisters, wipers, washer and the exhaust system before starting your journey.
  • Give your lights, indicators, reflectors and number plates a thorough clean.
  • Clean your windows and windscreens to ensure you have an optimal view when driving.
  • Ensure that your lights are properly adjusted.
  • Make sure that all luggage is secure and can’t fall out of off of your vehicle whilst driving.
  • Ensure you commence the cockpit drill before starting your journey so that your seat, seat belts, head restraints and mirrors are in the correct place for your personal use.
  • Make sure that your exhaust emissions are not exceeding the prescribed levels.




Maintaining an out of use vehicle

If, however, you still have no real use for your vehicle in the foreseeable future we recommend that you look at maintaining your vehicle still so that when you’re ready to make that first journey you don’t encounter any issues.

We firstly recommend topping up your fuel tank as it is widely known that a full tank does not cause as much condensation which could later results in vehicle issues. Also, when you’re ready to go, you don’t have to worry about a petrol station trip as your already topped up.

Leaving your parking brake on for an extended period of time could cause it to seize up and lock into place. This could be hard to then pull the break down so we recommend going to your car on a semi regular basis to release the handbrake and make a very short journey to ensure it hasn’t already seized up.

The car’s battery can be affected by many factors such as the climate, the age of the battery and how often you travel in the vehicle as well as the battery being drained by inboard computers and alarm systems. We would recommend charging your vehicles battery to ensure it doesn’t cause issues when you want to start driving again. You can do this by purchasing a charger such as a trickle charger or a smart charger to keep this topped up. If this however isn’t an option for you don’t worry, just starting the vehicle and having it run for 15 minutes per week can also do the trick.


Diesel particulate filter

All diesel engine cars since 2009 have been fitted with a filter to stop soot leaking into the atmosphere called the diesel particulate filter. After the soot is caught in the filter it then gets burned off into regenerators.

To maintain this filter and lower to need for a forced regeneration to clear it or the need for a new one it is recommended that you run the vehicle for 15 minutes to allow the filter to regenerate.  However, please be mindful to not turn off the engine mid-way through a regeneration as this could cause further issues.

There is usually a warning signal on the dashboard to remind you to do this. Please note that if this doesn’t come on and you feel the car go limp, performance being affected or a strong smell starts to come out of the exhaust you should look to get your vehicle booked into your local West Way dealership sooner rather than later.


Car tax and insurance when not in use

It is a commonly asked that if a vehicle is not in use does it still need a valid tax and insurance. The simple answer is yes. Your car must be taxed if you are driving it even on the odd occasion or if it is parked on a public road. If you declare it off-road it cannot be moved even for a short trip down the road. As for insurance, again yes, it needs to be ensured at all times by law. The only exception to this is to declare it off road and that again means you can’t legally move the vehicle.


Safely storing a car whilst it isn’t being used

If you are not looking to use your car for the next few months you should follow all of the advice given above whilst ensuring your vehicle is kept clean to prevent drying dirt, prevent rust by making sure the car is dry, if it Is being stored inside a garage make sure it is well ventilated and also ensure you lubricate the locks so that they don’t seize up and stay shut.

If you are going to be storing your car, please ensure that your tank is full as previously mentioned as this could cause corrosion and a lot of long-lasting damage to the vehicle. Similarly with diesel cars they can also collect moisture and be subject to corrosion which in turn could lead to bacterial and fungal growth. This is a little different for electric or hybrid vehicles however, you should aim to keep your battery at no less than 30% however we recommend between 50% and 80%. Each model will differ so please look in your manual to see how best to maintain your vehicle.

Whilst storing your vehicle we recommend leaving it in a secure garage as thieves are less likely to target your vehicle when it isn’t in plain sight. However, if this isn’t a possibility and you park on the road it is a good idea to turn the wheel as this makes a getaway a lot harder.

Any valuable items in your vehicle should be taken inside with you so that they cannot be stolen from your vehicle should the worst happen. Also, if you need to keep things in the car keep them hidden under a seat and away from the window so they aren’t easily visible. If you are nervous about leaving your car unattended however you could look into a steering wheel lock, gearstick and hand break locks, additional locking systems and warning stickers.


We hope this guide to ensuring your vehicle is ready for the road again helps clear up any uncertainty you may have had in relation to your vehicle’s health.

To book your vehicle in for an MOT or Service please click here

In line with government guidance, we are now fully open and vehicles are available to test drive. Social distancing measures are in place for sales and service customers. Please help us to manage customer numbers by making an appointment before coming to the showroom.

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