MINI Service

How to look after your car during lock down

We know it's hard to put the car keys away for now, after all cars are meant to be driven! We want you to know how to look after and maintain your car while it's not in use. Keeping your car in good condition is essential to make sure it runs smoothly and reduce the risk of an accident, never more so than right now, when the pressure on our emergency services is huge. Unless you’re driving for one of the essential purposes outlined by the government – including work, shopping for necessities or medical reasons – you should avoid driving at all for the time being. For many of us that means our cars will be sat parked for extended periods of time. A vehicle that is left unused can develop problems that will prevent it working properly when you come to drive it.

Maintain batteries and brakes if you’re not driving during lock down

If left for a while, a car’s brake discs can begin to corrode. This can eventually lead to the brakes seizing entirely, which will require a mechanic’s attention to put right. To prevent this from happening, roll your car back and forth a few metres every so often if safe to do so. This will also help prevent your tyres from developing flat spots. Corrosion of brake discs can also cause the handbrake to stick. If you’ve left your car on level ground in a private area and can be certain it won’t roll, you may want to avoid using the handbrake. This can cause the handbrake to stick, rendering the car immobile. Leaving the car in gear can help prevent it moving. Don’t use this tactic if you’re parked on a public road where there’s the risk of other vehicles knocking you, or if you’re parked on a slope.

Choose your parking spot wisely

Parking long term on a soft, permeable surface like grass or dirt allows moisture to travel up into your car's undercarriage, causing rust. Finding a spot on pavement is ideal, but gravel is still a decent second choice

Keep your battery maintained

Even when the car’s switched off, electrical items running in the background (such as security devices) can drain the battery. If your car is privately parked, you may want to invest in a mains-powered battery maintainer or trickle charger, which will keep it in tip-top condition. If you can’t realistically run a lead to your car, simply start it up once a week and let it run for around 15 minutes. Not only will this give the battery time to increase its charge, but will also circulate oil and fuel around the engine, which can prevent engine flooding in petrol cars. While the car is running, turn the air conditioning on. This will help maintain the seals in the air conditioning system and reduce the chance of mould developing in your car’s air circulation system. Avoid turning your car on and off again in quick succession. The starter motor requires battery power each time, which won’t be replenished unless the battery is given time to charge. Never leave your car unattended when it’s switched on.

Protect the paint

Consider covering your car, a cover can protect your paint from the elements, so long as you clean your car thoroughly before putting it on. Keep in mind that putting a cover on a dirty car can do more harm than good, since the cover can rub and abrade your paint over time.

Keeping your car roadworthy if you need to drive

Car, motorcycle and van owners whose MOTs had been due from 30 March 2020 have been given a six-month extension on having this test done, but are still expected to keep their vehicles in a safe and roadworthy condition, as we explain in our guide on how to pass an MOT test. If you need to drive for essential reasons, check the following. It’s also a good checklist for when you go back to driving after the restrictions end. Check fluid levels including oil, engine coolant, brake fluid and screen-wash to ensure they’re at least at minimum recommended levels. Gently try your brakes when first setting off to ensure they’re working properly. If they’ve built up corrosion, they may make a crunching or grinding noise for the first mile or so. If this persists, or you notice any vibration through the pedal, you may have warped brake discs. Check that all of your lights are working properly. If possible, ask someone to help you with this (for example checking that brake lights come on when you press the brakes). Alternatively, park in front of a reflective surface, such as a window, and you’ll be able to see the lights in your mirrors. Check that tyres have sufficient tread depth and no defects. The minimum legal tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm. You can easily check by inserting a 20p piece into a tyre groove. If the outer band of the coin is not obscured by the treadblock, they’re too low and illegal to use. Ensure tyres are properly inflated. Under-inflated tyres increase fuel consumption and can affect the braking performance of your car. You’ll be able to find the recommended tyre pressures for your model in the owner’s handbook.

Many newer cars now have a tyre pressure monitor which will warn you when your tyres have lost pressure. Garages are allowed to remain open for essential repairs, so if you have any concerns about your vehicle’s roadworthiness then get in touch by phone or enquire below and someone will be in touch.

Maintain your tax and insurance

Finally, while all car owners have been given a six-month MOT exemption to keep garages free for essential repairs, you’ll still need to keep your road tax and car insurance up to date to ensure your car is road legal. The only exception to this is if you make a statutory off-road notification (SORN), though if you do this, you won’t be able to use your car at all, even for essential or emergency journeys. You’ll be able to claim back the value of any full months of tax remaining on the car, and you’ll no longer be obliged to insure it. Unfortunately this option isn’t available to those who don’t have access to off-road parking. If you have to leave your car on the street, park in as safe a place as possible and remember to use your handbrake (and leave the car in gear if you’ve got a manual gearbox) if you’ve left it on a slope.

ANY QUESTIONS?

If you have any concerns about your car during lock down then please enquire below and a member of the team will be in touch.

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Ocean Group Privacy Policy

Ocean Group includes De Van Automotive, Grevan Cars Ltd, Ocean BMW Plymouth, Ocean MINI Plymouth, Ocean Motorrad Plymouth, Ocean BMW Falmouth, Ocean MINI Falmouth, Ocean Motorrad Falmouth, Ocean BMW Torbay, Ocean MINI Torbay and Ocean Bodyshop.

This privacy policy explains how we use any personal information we collect about you when you use our websites or visit one of our showrooms.

Topics:
• What information do we collect about you?
• How will we use the information about you?
• Marketing
• Access to your information and correction
• Cookies
• Other websites
• Changes to our privacy policy
• How to contact us

What information do we collect about you?
As you would expect, we collect information about you when you register on our websites or place an order for cars, bikes, products or services. We also collect information when you voluntarily complete customer surveys, provide feedback and participate in competitions. Website usage information is collected using cookies.
How will we use this information about you?
We collect this information about you to process your order, manage your account and, if you agree, to keep in touch with you about other products and services we think might be useful to you or that you might find interesting.
The information collected from our websites is used to personalise your repeat visits to any of the Ocean branches or departments.
With your agreement, we shall continue to pass on your personal information, solely, within the Ocean Group to enable us to offer you additional and tailor-made services.
Ocean Group does not and will not share your information for marketing purposes with any companies outside the Group.
In processing your order, we may send your details to, and also use information from credit reference agencies and fraud prevention agencies.

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You also have the right to request a copy of the information that we hold about you. If you would like a copy of some or all of this information, please email or write to us at the following address gdpr.info@oceanbmw.com or gdpr.info@oceanmini.co.uk
Or by post to our head office at: GDPR Administrator, Ocean BMW, St Modwen House, Longbridge Road, Plymouth, PL6 8LD.
It is important to us to ensure that your personal information is accurate and up to date. You may ask us to correct or remove information you think is inaccurate.

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Cookies are text files placed on your computer to collect standard internet log information and visitor behaviour information. This information is used to track visitor use of the website and to compile statistical reports on website activity.
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Other websites
Our website contains links to other websites. This privacy policy only applies to the Ocean websites so when you link to other websites you should read their own privacy policies.
Changes to our privacy policy We keep our privacy policy under regular review and we will place any updates on this web page. This privacy policy was last updated on 11th April 2018.

How to contact us
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about our privacy policy or information we hold about you: GDPR.info@oceanbmw.com or by post to our head office at:
GDPR Administrator, Ocean BMW, St Modwen House, Longbridge Road, Plymouth, PL6 8LD