With strict restrictions to prevent people from leaving their homes and gathering in groups, drivers with scheduled car maintenance may wonder if they can still get work done on their vehicles.
APK testing, maintenance, repairs, fuel refueling and the collection of newly purchased engines will be at the top of the agenda for owners, especially those considered critical workers who rely on their cars.
This is Money explains what the government has said so far and what services are affected.
Can I still drive my car? Unless you use your vehicle for one of the approved reasons, motorists are advised not to use their engines during Covid-19 restrictions
Can I still drive my car?
Yes, you can still use your car, but the government has recommended that it be for one of the approved reasons only.
This includes buying supplies, attending a medical appointment, assisting an elderly or frail person, or going to or from work when you are unable to work from home.
Police have said that driving to locations for a walk is not appropriate for the local exercise.
While no measures are currently being taken to close roads, the Prime Minister has told people not to leave their home for any reason other than those mentioned above.
This means that it is not advisable for motorists to take advantage of partially deserted roads to drive alone. And anyone caught by the police while restrictions are in place can be fined.
Which parts of my car should I clean?
With the spread of the coronavirus that confines most British people to their homes, it has become essential for people to clean their homes meticulously.
However, the same level of attention should also be paid to your car if you plan to use it for unavoidable travel requirements.
There are multiple surfaces in vehicles that require special attention – even 40 according to Toyota. They are listed below.
40 car areas to watch out for
Toyota has compiled the following list of 40 parts of the car that need to be cleaned to kill germs.
For convenience, seat belts are counted as one item, and if you are transporting others in your car you may need to spend a little longer to ensure that all your passengers can enjoy a factory fresh ride the next time they get in your car.
1. Exterior door handles
2. Door and roof frame
3. Unlock the inner door
4. Window switches
5. Inner handle
6. Door compartment
7. Seat belts
8. Belt clips
9. Knobs for seat adjustment
10. Steering wheel
11. Horn button
12. Control stems
13. Driver vents
15. Power button
16. Gear stick
17. Multimedia screen
18. Central vents
19. Heating controllers
20. Glove box
22. Central storage compartment
23. Cup holders
24. Rear view mirror
25. Interior lighting
29. Bean bags
30. Rear center lip
31. Fuel cap
32. Wheel valves
33. Trunk lid
34. Parcel shelf
35. Trunk bottom tab
36. Boat close button
37. Bonnet cover
40. Oil cap
Can I have my car test APK during the coronavirus lock? The government has confirmed a six-month exemption for owners of cars, motorcycles and vans from March 30
Can I have my car tested for MOT?
Owners of cars, vans and motorcycles have received a six-month APK exemption from March 30, the Ministry of Transport has confirmed.
It says that this will allow drivers and riders to travel to work where it is absolutely impossible to do this from home, or to run errands.
This means that if you need to have an MOT from March 30, 2020, the next inspection date will be extended by six months.
This measure will be in place for the next 12 months, the DfT confirmed.
However, the statement adds that vehicles must be kept ‘in running order’ and that vehicles found at the buttons of unsafe engines can be prosecuted.
See the instruction below on what to check on your car to make sure it is safe to drive.
What drivers should check to make sure their vehicle is ready to drive
Every time you drive, you should check:
– the windshield, windows and mirrors are clean
– all lights are working
– the brakes work
Your vehicle handbook will tell you how often to check the following:
– engine oil
– water level in the radiator or expansion tank
– brake fluid level
– front and rear windscreen washer bottles – top up with windshield washer fluid if necessary
– tires: they must have the correct tread depth and be free of cuts and defects
The manual also states when your car needs service.
The profile must have a certain depth, depending on the type of vehicle:
cars, light vans and light trailers – 1.6 millimeters (mm)
motorcycles, large vehicles and passenger vehicles – 1 mm
Mopeds need only have visible tread.
It should run over the middle three-quarters and around the entire tire.
Grant Shapps, transportation secretary, confirmed that garages would remain open.
“Safety is key, which is why garages remain open for essential repair work,” he explains.
The DfT has also provided information to those who have been unable to have their MOT tested in recent days because they isolated themselves after showing symptoms of the virus.
It said it is working with insurers and the police to “ensure that people are not unfairly punished for things beyond their control.”
The APK tests for trucks, trailers and public vehicles – such as buses – have also been suspended for three months from 21 March.
Vehicles in these groups that pass an APK during this period will receive a three-month exemption certificate so that they can stay on the road with the requirement that they be tested as soon as the ban is lifted.
If maintenance of the vehicle can be avoided in these unknown times, it should be. Under the current guidance, however, the garage can remain open
Can I have my car serviced?
While the government insists that you can still have your car serviced, many franchise dealers have to shut down due to the virus pandemic, which could hit workers in their dedicated service centers.
The National Franchised Dealers Association has called on the government to ensure that “ essential ” vehicle repair and maintenance services are not discontinued as part of wider store closings to ensure that critical workers drive safe cars that are mechanically healthy.
If you isolate yourself because of the virus, the recommendation is not to leave the house – which is a concern for those with newer cars with maintenance plans that require their vehicles to be checked under warranty requirements.
If you own a car with a “ variable maintenance agreement ” based on mileage, don’t worry as it won’t save you miles during the time you quarantine yourself.
That said, if your engine is subject to fixed maintenance intervals set at specific times, there isn’t much clarity.
Most manufacturers allow a grace period of about a month or 1,000 miles for the car to be tested before the warranty is voided due to a lack of care on the part of the owner.
The Motor Ombudsman recommends that anyone in this situation should contact the vehicle manufacturer for advice.
Since dealers are closing this week and cannot facilitate this, you should probably call the brand’s headquarters.
Fixter can pick up, MOT or maintain and return your car without you having to communicate with other people – and they have taken new measures to clean vehicles as soon as they are delivered to their owners
Services to make MOTs, maintenance and repairs easier and safer during pandemic
There are a number of services that make it possible to collect and deliver vehicles without contact for all maintenance requirements.
Comparison site BookMyGarage says the number of garages offering contactless services has increased.
Some offer this for free, and all the driver needs to do is inform the garage about the location of the keys.
The person collecting the car also wears protective gloves and, if necessary, uses other protective equipment when collecting and returning the vehicle.
Contactless delivery and collection is offered to those who need it, including NHS staff, other key employees, as well as those who need the service in these unprecedented times.
Fixter, an end-to-end online auto maintenance service, confirmed that the company is gaining momentum and is experiencing its busiest day ever on Wednesday, March 18.
It said customers in the Covid-19 crisis appreciate the ‘physically contact-free’ Fixter service, where their cars are picked up and then serviced or serviced before being dropped off at their house.
The company has also introduced automotive sanitizer cleaning before returning it to customers, including wiping the steering wheel, gearshift buttons, controls and handles.
Specialist services are also offered to those who have yet to work.
For example, Halfords offers a free ten-point auto-check – normally worth £ 15 – to all NHS frontline workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
The checks, including tire inflation, screen washing and checking the oil level, headlamps and brake lights, are designed to keep vital NHS employees moving at this critical time.
What about recalls?
A reader of This is Money told us they were turned down from a safety reminder appointment on their Toyota Prius because the dealer was closed during the virus outbreak.
The recall concerns a seat belt.
Toyota said it will set up a skeleton workshop to treat vehicles in order of importance.
Load and insure a vehicle without load
Now that vehicles and taxes have moved from paper discs to online in 2014, motorists can renew their car taxes online through the government’s website.
Because MOTs expiring after March 30 are extended by six months, motorists can use their existing MOT certificate to tax and insure their car.
The movement restrictions should also not affect insurance policy extensions and recovery policy outages, which can be posted online.
Can I still refuel?
Petrol stations will remain open for the time being. And the prices at the pumps are falling.
However, according to the government directive, it will mainly be critical workers who can benefit from cheaper petrol and diesel.
This week, Asda and Morrisons both announced a 12p-a-liter cut in gasoline due to the drop in wholesale fuel prices due to the drop in oil value over the past two weeks.
Motorists are then told to take an “occasional ride” as long as they don’t get out of the car and chat with someone. This includes providing food and medicines to those who are isolated.
Drivers are advised to wear gloves when visiting a service station, as petrol pumps – like any other hard surface – treated by other users can spread the virus.
Public Health England says, “Gas pumps are no worse than other surfaces, although we do recommend that people use gloves and wash their hands after use.”
The suspension lasts until April 20, 2020 for driving tests and up to three months for driving tests
All driving tests have been canceled
All driving tests have now been canceled for three months.
However, there is currently an exception for people with ‘critical needs’, such as NHS employees and potential delivery drivers.
The suspension will last until April 20, 2020 for theory tests and up to three months for driving tests.
This applies to all types of theory tests, driving tests and approved driving instructor (ADI) standard checks.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said, “It is vital that those who need a test can get one, so DVSA offers tests for those who have a critical need, such as the NHS and drivers who deliver goods across the UK. ‘
The car showrooms have to close on Monday night, meaning buyers and collectors of new vehicles have to wait
Buying – and collecting – new cars is affected
Many franchise dealer groups announced on Monday that it would be temporary showrooms.
Sytner, Marshall Motor Group, HR Owen, Lookers and Chorley Group said they would close dealers hours prior to the Prime Minister’s announcement that all non-essential companies – including motor showrooms – should not open for trading.
This means that customers can still place orders over the phone, although the appeal of this is very limited.
Orders that have already been placed can also not be picked up because the dealer staff are told to stay at home.
This is not good news for the industry: new vehicle registrations fell another 2.4 percent last year to their lowest production in six years. And there have been further declines in the first two months of 2020.
Last week, car dealer group Pendragon slumped in an annual loss of £ 16.4m in the past year as it struggled to discharge ‘surplus’ used car stock.
And the owner of major dealers Evans Halshaw and Stratstone warned that the outlook for the future looked even worse than the slump in the rearview mirror.
The online vehicle purchase site BuyaCa has introduced its own contactless transfers of new cars to vulnerable people, such as the elderly and those with pre-existing health problems, as the company seeks ways to help consumers and dealers overcome unprecedented times of difficulty.
The company says it is also increasing inventory, with strict preparation and cleaning processes to ensure the safety of customers, who can now buy and even receive a car without leaving their home.
It also waives the payment of £ 199 for the delivery of new engines to key workers – and offers them a free warranty of £ 499 for two years.
Used car sales will be affected by government restrictions, but there are services that may still help
How about buying a used car?
Used car dealers are also forced to close under the leadership of the government, and with drivers told not to go out and mingle with people in their immediate family they don’t live with, very limited private transactions have to take place.
This has opened the door for the revolutionary online business, Cazoo, which is reporting strong demand for its service in the current climate of at-home consumers and social distance.
Cazoo has its own stock of thousands of second-hand vehicles, similar to an Amazon warehouse, and you can purchase them entirely on the website or app.
It completely overhauls each engine before putting it up for sale and delivers free stock to the customer’s door in a delivery time of two hours.
Every vehicle sold comes with a seven-day money-back guarantee, so you can return it if you’re not happy with the car, there’s also a free 90-day extended warranty and roadside assistance.
Deliveries are made at a greater distance to protect both customers and employees during the pandemic, he says.
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