May 1, 2020
In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the unfortunate reality is that much of the taxi trade has had to park up their cab for the foreseeable future. It has been reported that up to four in five private hire and black cab drivers have gone off the road. Some have done so with their health in mind, and to protect themselves and their families from the virus. Others have found that there just is not enough work to keep them on the roads, with the usual trade – airport runs, school and office commutes, and the hustle and bustle of the UK pub and club journeys at the weekends – ground to a halt. With this in mind, taxi drivers all over the country will be thinking about how to keep their vehicles maintained so that they are raring to go when the lockdown period ends. This guide aims to give you a couple of hints and tips on car maintenance during this time.
Of course, the timeframe in which cabs will be sitting idle will vary – some drivers will still be using them for personal transportation such as travelling for vital supplies or medical appointments. For others however it could be the case that your car will be sitting for weeks or perhaps even months without any movement.
Keeping Engines Healthy
It is universally known that cars which sit idle for long periods of time will incur a flat battery. This is more commonly found in winter; however, this can happen at any time of the year if the vehicle is stationary for long enough. We know that we should not be making any unnecessary journeys, so to avoid this situation while adhering to the lockdown rules you can simply turn the car engine on a couple of times a week. To keep the engines from flooding, which can happen in any petrol engine, you should keep the car turned on for at least 20 minutes after starting up. While doing so you can also ensure that your brakes do not seize from long periods of time set in park by moving a short distance both backwards and forwards. Bear in mind that it is imperative that this is carried out in an open space to avoid dangerous fumes building up.
If you are driving an electric or hybrid taxi, your battery can be charged by pressing your charge button and turning on for around ten minutes – just once a week should be enough in this case. You may not be required to do this if you have an electric or plug-in hybrid model that can maintain its batteries if connected to the mains charger.
Tending to Fluid Levels and Tyres
This time off the road can be used wisely, to give your cab a general check-up. Make sure that your fluid levels – oil, engine coolant, brake fluid and screen wash – are within the correct limits, and if you have access to a home tyre inflation kit or can get to a garage, check your tyres according to the pressures outlined for your vehicle model. Tyres should also be checked for tread depth. Additionally, you could ask for help from someone in your household, or park in front of a reflective surface, to check all your lights including your brake lights are in proper working order.
All of the above should help to ensure that you can get back on the road as quickly and easily as possible when the current restrictions are lifted.