The high-tech powertrains require slightly different treatment to conventional combustion engines.
As the UK enters its fourth week of lockdown, the number of car journeys has fallen considerably. Earlier this month, an article in the Guardian suggested the number of trips undertaken by road had fallen to “levels not seen since 1955”.
With Covid-19 consigning cars to drives or garages, Lexus has issued advice to drivers who want to ensure their pride and joy is in good nick when they can get back on the road. And because many of Lexus’ modern products use hybrid power, the company has provided special guidance on looking after these high-tech, low-emission vehicles.
Of course, much of the guidance is identical regardless of the car’s propulsion method, and Lexus has suggested ways of looking after the bodywork, brakes and tyres that are pertinent to all its cars. For example, the company says tyres should be correctly inflated when the car is stored and checked before it returns to the road. The manufacturer also suggests cleaning the car thoroughly ahead of its hibernation, and making sure it is dry before it is stored in a garage.
The company also recommends ensuring any garage is well ventilated, and even suggests opening the window slightly if the garage is secure. At the same time, Lexus says it is “beneficial” to disengage the parking brake, as this can prevent the brakes from ‘binding’. However, the company says automatic cars should be left in ‘P’ for park, while manuals should be left in gear.
Furthermore, Lexus suggests putting the car keys away, so you aren’t carrying them around. If you go near the car with the keys, it could cause the vehicle to “wake up”, as the systems detect the key’s proximity and get ready for action, causing a drain on the battery.
However, when it comes to starting the car, the guidance changes slightly. Lexus recommends running internal combustion engines for around 20 minutes “at least once a week” in a well-ventilated area to keep the battery topped up. For hybrids, however, the company recommends starting the car in the normal way, and leaving it in ‘ready’ mode for about 60 minutes every few weeks. The company points out that the car should be accompanied while this is happening, and the internal combustion engine may start every so often.
Finally, the company says those not intending to use the car at all for a period of a month or more could consider applying for a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). This informs the DVLA that the car is off the road and you will receive a refund of any remaining full months of tax. However, you won’t be able to drive your car legally until you tax it again.