Are short school journeys impacting your vehicle?

Over the last six months of the lockdown, has your vehicle remained parked and dormant? Now that normality is creeping it’s way back in and the children are back at school, there are a few factors that you should consider regarding the daily school runs to ensure that they don’t cause any negative impacts to your vehicle.

It often becomes classified as a myth, but there is actually truth behind the fact that short journeys can harm your car and the way in which it runs. The main contributing factors are listed below:

The length of battery life within each vehicle is still limited to an extent. The way you use your vehicle will affect its length of life. Long journeys will allow the alternator to re-charge the battery during the drive, whereas smaller journeys can prevent this action from occurring, triggering it into a shorter life span of under three to four years. Check the charge on your battery before beginning the next phase of school runs to ensure that you don’t receive the unpleasant surprise of a roadside, rush hour breakdown in these cold, autumnal mornings.

During longer drives, your vehicle is able to reach its optimum temperature. This level of internal heat will prevent the way for any wear and tear to your engine by allowing the oil within to flow freely, keeping each part well-lubricated and minimising the risk of any operational issues occurring. If your school run consists of a relatively short journey, twice a day, you could be allowing your vehicle to partially heat up during the stop-and-start journey, before turning the engine off and leaving it to cool again, potentially leading to future engine faults.

To aid pollution levels, diesel vehicles are fitted with a filter designed to reduce emissions into the air each time the vehicle is run. Although these filters have only good intentions, they will only operate to optimum efficiency if they are able to clean or regenerate. Short journeys do not allow for this, thus decreasing the productivity of your vehicle’s emission reduction through your neighbourhood and local area.

To prevent these issues from creating a negative impact upon your vehicle, it would be beneficial to take yours for a long drive after its unprecedented, dormant period, allowing it to act as a test run to prevent from any unseen breakdowns. This drive will also ensure that the alternator can re-charge your battery fully, and that the oil within your engine can flow freely throughout your vehicle, keeping everything oiled up and operating to their highest capabilities. Once the school runs are back in full force, you should keep up with the action of taking your car for a long drive, either once a week or a couple of times a month, to ensure that the battery remains at its optimum charge, your engine is well lubricated and your diesel vehicle remains safer for the air.

For additional advice or assistance with keeping your car in good condition during the return to school runs, or to arrange for a professional maintenance check, contact us at Bromley Vehicle Test Centre by calling 020 8460 6666 and we will be happy to help.