Using Your Car During Coronavirus: Your Questions Answered

In the wake of the government’s social distancing and isolation measures due to the Covid-19 outbreak, many people are still uncertain about what they are allowed to do and how the measures impact them, particularly when it comes to the use of their vehicle. It is important to follow government advice at all times and stay at home unless essential. 

We take a look at some of the common questions and answer them below. 

Can I Still Drive?

Yes, but the government has asked that you only do so for essential trips. What constitutes an essential trip?

  • Shopping for essentials
  • Attending a medical appointment
  • Assisting someone in the vulnerable category such as the elderly, those with pre-existing conditions, or those self-isolating due to Coronavirus like symptoms 
  • Getting to and from work if you must, but people have been asked to try and work from home where possible

People are allowed to partake in one form of exercise per day but have been told that driving to participate in exercise i.e. by going to the woods to walk the dog or visiting a beauty spot to walk in is prohibited. You may also not simply go for a drive to escape the house; people caught doing this could face fines from the police.

So, before you get in the car, ask yourself, is this an essential journey?

Can I Get a MOT?

The government have granted a 6-month extension on MOTs for cars, vans and motorcycles. This came into effect on March 30th and will be in effect for the next 12 months according to the Department for Transport. 

Your vehicle does, however, need to be kept in a roadworthy condition. Anyone found driving an unsafe vehicle can still be prosecuted. To ensure your vehicle is roadworthy, you should still carry out the below checks as a minimum and make the necessary repairs before driving where applicable.

•    Check mirrors and wipers are clean
•    Check your lights are working
•    Check the brakes work
•    Ensure fluid levels are still checked regularly including oil, screen wash, coolant and brake fluids
•    Check tyres tread depth and condition


The Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, said that garages could remain open for essential repair work to ensure that vehicles that do need to be on the road can do so safely. 

Can I Get My Car Serviced? 

Garages can remain open for servicing and repairs that are essential; however, many franchised dealers are now closed, meaning that your service may be impacted if it needs to be carried out by a main dealer. 

The best thing to do is contact the main dealer, or manufacturer if this is the case, and ask whether they are open and what you do with regards to your servicing. Most manufacturers will grant a 1,000-mile grace period to servicing before the warranty is invalidated. 

For those in variable servicing, based on mileage there will be less worry as most vehicles will not be driven much during this time. 

Can I Get Fuel? 

Petrol stations are still open at the time of writing this article, with the price of fuel dropping due to the reduction in oil prices. So, the answer is yes, but again only if necessary. Remember, you should only be driving for essential reasons such as shopping, getting to and from work for key workers and delivering essentials to those classed as vulnerable.

It’s recommended to wear gloves when refuelling, as the surface of the pumps is hard and the virus can remain stable on hard surfaces for up to 3 days. As soon as possible after use, ensure you wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds.     

What Parts of The Car Should Be Kept Clean?

In order to try to eliminate the spread of the virus, it’s advisable to clean areas that you come into contact with regularly such as the below: 

  • Door handles, both inside and out 
  • Window switches
  • Seatbelts
  • Steering wheel and controls
  • Stereos/touch screens
  • Key or remote locker
  • Vents and dash
  • Fuel cap
  • Rear view mirror

In terms of the outside if the car, you still need to ensure the car is safe by ensuring the number plates are readable and the lights are clean and free of grime such as mud. 

Summary

As with anything right now, the government reserves the right to make amendments to their advice. So, ensure you keep an eye on any new advice issued to stay within the law. 

We understand these are exceptional times, but we will still be here to help you to find your new car when they’re over. Take advantage of this time to research your next car and find the right model you. Until then, stay safe.