How should I maintain my car during the Coronavirus isolation period?
With many cars not in daily use, the following practical tips from BMW Online Genius will help you to keep your BMW ready for your next journey. Please stay safe and only make essential journeys.
The latest government guidance on Coronavirus can be found here: www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
If, as part of your essential-only travel during the coronavirus outbreak, your engine runs for approximately 20 minutes once a week, the battery in your car is unlikely to go flat.
Car batteries, like any battery, discharge when not used. Your car takes some power from the battery even when locked and parked, to power essentials such as the alarm.
How long you can leave your car without starting depends on the condition of your car's 12-volt battery? A BMW with a healthy battery should last at least 2 weeks, without needing to be started up to re-charge.
Try to minimise excessive 'wake ups' of your car’s electrical systems. Avoid locking/unlocking or switching on the ignition without driving the car where possible. Start the engine before listening to the radio or using your headlights, heating or air conditioning system.
If there’s any doubt about the condition of the battery, or the car will not be used for longer than three weeks, we suggest you connect it to a BMW Battery Charger or a suitable trickle charger. Please note the car’s warranty covers the battery for manufacturing defects but not for depletion as a result of lack of use.
Electric and Hybrid Car High Voltage Batteries
An Electric Vehicle or Hybrid High Voltage battery will last for weeks when not being driven, as a Li-Ion battery has a low self-discharge rate. The car can be left connected to a home charger 'wall box' as charging will stop once the battery is fully charged.
The State of Charge of your BMW High Voltage battery can be seen in the vehicle or via the BMW Connected app on your smartphone.
Check your tyres to make sure they are at the recommended pressures when you need to drive especially at higher speeds. For your specific pressures see the placard mounted on the door opening.
Proper inflation helps prevent possible cracking of the sidewalls and flat spots. It’s also worth checking valves and valve caps for leaks and that valve caps fit properly.
If storing your vehicle for longer than 3 months, increase the tyre pressure to 3.5 bar. Remember to adjust the pressures to recommended values prior to driving your car once out of storage.
Using your car at intervals, sufficient to charge the battery for example, should keep your brakes corrosion-free. Drive with extra care if your brakes show signs of light surface rust as stopping distances may temporarily be extended. Gently using your brakes whilst driving should clear this.
With very prolonged periods of non-use, brakes and handbrakes can become corroded and require replacement. If you have any concerns about corrosion, seek expert advice.
Ideally store your BMW with a full tank of fuel to avoid any condensation build-up in the tank.
Try to wash your car every 1-2 weeks, if possible, to remove any substances that may cause damage to the paintwork (eg bird lime) and give clear visibility for safer driving. Plus it keeps your BMW looking nice for you!