Vehicle owners told to stay on top of maintenance during lockdown

More than half of drivers do not know when next service is due

Vehicle owners told to stay on top of maintenance during lockdown
Image: Bigstock.

Highways England is this week encouraging road users to carry out regular vehicle maintenance and checks during the current national lockdown after a new survey revealed that more than half (54 per cent) did not know when their next service is due.

Nearly a third (32 per cent) of road users admit they only carry out basic vehicle maintenance, such as checking their tyre pressure or oil levels, at best every few months or never.

This is in spite of advice to perform regular vehicle maintenance – even when a vehicle is not in regular use during lockdown – on top of the recommended annual service and mandatory MOT.

In response to the survey, Highways England and partners – breakdown provider, Green Flag, and retailer, Halfords – are now highlighting the importance of basic maintenance and checks in helping road users to avoid breakdowns or endangering themselves and other drivers.

Related: Half of UK drivers at risk after delaying essential car maintenance this year

Without proper care and attention during lockdown, owners risk tyre problems, flat batteries, weather damage and issues due to fluid levels running low when they begin using their vehicle again.

Jeremy Phillips, head of road user safety, said: “While the country is in still in lockdown, we want to remind drivers to act now and carry out those important basic checks.

“Doing regular maintenance, rather than waiting until the end of lockdown is in sight, will ensure their vehicles still work and preventable breakdowns are avoided when restrictions are lifted and the nation gets back on the road.”

Related: Police issue warning amid lockdown MOT confusion

Every year Highways England’s traffic officers deal with more than 85,000 breakdowns – 40 per cent caused by vehicles running out of fuel, poor tyre maintenance, power loss and engine trouble.

Basic checks and maintenance can prevent many breakdowns, says Highways England.

Mark Newberry, commercial director at Green Flag, said: “Cars are designed to be driven regularly and the components rely on regular use to stay in tip-top condition.

“A period of lockdown means many vehicles that may have been running every day could now be used less, which can lead to a number of complications.

Related: Vehicles failing MOT in record numbers over emissions

“Car batteries are often the hardest hit. During the first lockdown, over 60 per cent of our callouts were for battery-related issues and the colder weather will also have an impact by reducing the battery’s ability to hold charge.

“Carry out a few basic checks to make sure your car is ready for when you need it.

“Don’t leave it until your next MOT or service if you know or feel there is something wrong with your car.”

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