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What to do if you're not driving your car regularly

With much of the country currently in 'lockdown' and working from home for the foreseeable future, you may be wondering what to do with your vehicle if you're not driving it.

Remember: even if you're not using it, your vehicle must remain insured unless you make a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) but you can only do this if the car if kept off the road.

Is it bad to leave a car unused?

Although cars are made to be driven, with good maintenance it should be okay. If your car is being left unused bear in mind the following:

Fuel. Top up with fuel before leaving your car parked up for a long period of time.
Tyres. Check all tyre pressures and inflate if necessary before driving your car.
Batteries. Connect your car's battery to a mains-powered battery maintainer, if you can. If this isn't feasible, start the engine once a week and allow to run for 15 minutes.
Electric vehicles. Turn on your car for 10 minutes at least once a week to keep the 12-volt battery topped-up. Check your vehicle handbook for alternative options.

How long can you leave a car without starting it?

This depends on the condition of your car's battery. Most modern cars should last two weeks without needing to be turned on to recharge it. If you're in doubt of the condition, there is no harm in starting it once a week.

What happens if you don't drive a car for a long period of time?

As long as your vehicle has been regularly started, the battery should work. The brakes may have some corrosion on them, especially if the car was wet when parked up. When driving for the first time make sure to test the brakes frequently to clean them.

How long can a car sit before the battery dies?

There are many factors that can affect this e.g. age of battery, condition of the vehicle, temperature. As long as you follow our previously stated battery maintenance advise, you shouldn't experience any issues.

How can I best care for my hybrid battery?

To prevent excessive auxiliary battery drainage, charge the battery at least once every two weeks by turning on the hybrid system for 20 minutes with all non-essential electrical accessories (such as air conditioning and audio equipment) turned off.

Click here to view Toyota's hybrid care blog

What if my MOT expires?

The government has recently announced a six-month MOT extension. If your MOT due date expires on or after 30th March 2020 it will automatically be extended by six months. Click here to read our Coronavirus FAQs.

What should I do if storing my car for 3 months?

As well as the first points we made we recommend the following:

Clean and polish your vehicle
Make sure it is completely dry if you plan to store it in a garage
Consider a refund on your car tax by making a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN)
Look into reducing your insurance cover to 'Fire and Theft' only, if you would prefer
Ensure there is adequate ventilation if storing in a garage

What if I'm storing my vehicle for over 3 months?

We recommend you follow all points previously listed on this page as well as:

Check your oil level and change if needed
Arrange for an Oil and Filter Service
Sufficiently lubricate the locks

Be sure to arrange a full service once your vehicle is up and running again to prevent any damage.

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