DS Lockdown FAQ's
Have you found yourself wondering what to do with your car during lockdown? If your car has been out of action during lockdown, then here's what to do.
Do I still need to tax my car if it is not in use?
You will still need to tax your car if you’re driving it or if it’s parked on a public road.
The only exception to this is if the car is declared off the road with a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) and it’s parked on private land.
Do you need to renew your tax? You can do so online using the government website.
Does my car have to be insured if I’m not using it?
Yes, your car needs to be insured while not in use. The law says you have to keep your vehicle insured even if it’s not being driven.
The only exception is to declare it off-road (SORN) but, again, doing so means you cannot drive your vehicle.
What if I have a service or MOT booked or require a repair during lockdown?
Our workshops are classed as ‘essential businesses’ and we will continue to offer servicing, repairs and MOTs for both Cars and Commercial Vehicles.
If you have already made a service or MOT booking with us, your appointment will go ahead as planned (subject to revised opening hours - please click here for details), but if you need to make any changes, just let us know.
Our Booking Team will be happy to help you by telephone, email or live-chat, and we’ll continue to offer collection & delivery or loan vehicles if required.
Keeping your car in good shape
If your car won’t be in use for the next few weeks, then we recommend you follow these tips:
Top up with fuel if possible
A full tank doesn’t cause as much condensation, which can cause issues if left to build up. It also means you’re ready to go if you do have to travel.
Occasionally release your parking brake
If you leave your parking brake on for too long could cause your brakes to seize up. We recommend you periodically release the brake and move your car a short distance.
Keep the battery charged
Certain things can drain your battery even when your car is parked, such as the alarm system or onboard computers, so it’s worth keeping the battery topped up as much as possible.
You can do this by starting the engine once a week and run your car for around 15 minutes. This will help re-charge the battery properly and keep the engine in good condition too.
If you won’t be using your car for the next two or three months, you should follow the above advice and also:
Clean and polish the car to prevent any dirt drying on.
Make sure the car is dry to reduce the risk of rust or discolouration.
You should also consider lubricating locks, so they don’t seize up or jam shut.
You may need to check your oil level and change it if possible.
Top tip: if you’re leaving your car parked facing downhill, turn the wheels into the kerb so the pressure isn’t all on the handbrake and leave the car in reverse gear.
Storing a petrol car
After a while, a half-full or near empty tank will condensate and collect moisture. This can lead to corrosion of the tank and water in your fuel. The fuller a tank is when stored, the less space there is for water to condense.
Storing a diesel car
Similar to petrol cars, diesel cars can collect moisture and face corrosion and water in your fuel. It can also lead to bacterial and fungal growth.
Storing hybrids and electric cars
Electric and hybrids car batteries charge differently to the conventional 12-volt battery in petrol and diesel cars.
Generally, you should aim to keep an electric cars battery charged between 50% and 80% to prolong its lifespan. Try not to let the battery drop below 30% too often as this can affect long-term performance.
For best practice for your specific make and model, contact us directly.
Keeping your car safe while it’s not in use
Parking in a garage or on a driveway is one of the more secure options, but if you don’t have access to either then try to park as close to your house as possible in a well-lit area. Thieves are less likely to approach a car that can be easily seen.
If you’re parking on the road, try turning your wheels towards the kerb to make an easy-getaway trickier.
Take any valuables out of the car for as long as it’s out of use, including anything stored in the glove compartment.
Alarms and additional security
Most modern cars are equipped with an alarm, but you may need an alarm professionally fitted if you’re driving a much older model.
Older cars (pre-1998) may also need an immobiliser fitting, which helps prevent the car being started without the proper key.
If you’re nervous about leaving your car unattended, you can look into additional security measures such as:
Steering wheel locks
Gearstick and handbrake locks
Additional electronic locking systems
Install a tracker into your vehicle
Mark parts with an ultra-violet pen
When you start driving again for the first time in a while, here’s what to do.
Make sure your car tax, insurance and MOT are up to date. (You can’t tax your car unless you have a valid MOT certificate, so you’ll need to arrange this too. It is illegal to drive an untaxed vehicle.)
Check tyre pressure and tread depth.
Check under the bonnet for signs of rust or damage.
Check all fluid levels before you start the engine.
Gently check your brakes and handbrake for corrosion.
If your car has not been used for a while, it may be worth booking in a full service, you can do so here.
Perform vehicle maintenance checks
To ensure your car is working properly, please follow this checklist. You should check the Highway Code for more.
Test lights, brakes, steering, seat belts, demisters, wiper, washer and the exhaust system before you set off.
Clean lights, indicators, reflectors and number plates.
Clear windscreens and windows for an unobstructed view.
Lights are properly adjusted to avoid dazzling other road users.
Luggage is securely stowed.
Adjust seat, seat belts, head restraints and mirrors before you set off.
Exhaust emissions cannot exceed prescribed levels, especially if your vehicle is heavily loaded.
Are you looking to purchase a new or used vehicle?
Whilst our showrooms are obliged to close, our Sales Teams will still be here to assist with enquiries and arrange delivery of new and outstanding orders.
We’ve operated ‘Click & Collect’ and ‘Click & Deliver’ solutions for years with all paperwork now completed digitally and contactless hand-overs, either at the dealership or your home address.
Our telephone lines, email and live-chat will be manned throughout (Monday to Saturday) and we can offer video-chat and personalised video presentations of any vehicle of interest.
If you require any further information, please don't hesitate to contact us.