Coronavirus COVID-19: Advice on buying, owning and running a car during the outbreak | No thanks

Coronavirus questions answered: Can I buy a new car, how do I store my car how can I cancel an order?

You've been sending us your questions on the impact of coronavirus COVID-19 on your and your car. And we've been doing the best we can to get you answers from the likes of the DVSA, Public Health England and a range of companies. Below are a section of those that we've been asked in recent days.

You can find the latest on the coronavirus update and what it means if you're buying a car, a car owner or looking for advice on MoTs, driving tests and the Congestion Charge here.

Ask HJ

Coronavirus means that I may need to cancel the car that I've just ordered - where do I stand?

I ordered an expensive Range Rover to my specification a few weeks ago, which the dealer advises is now ready. I paid a deposit at the time of order. Due to the Coronavirus situation and the economic impact that is having on my personal situation I may need to cancel. If I lose the deposit that's fine, but is there any chance that the dealer could force me legally to complete the purchase?
First of all, speak to the dealer. If you're polite and explain the situation, they'll be more understanding. You'll have entered into a contract to buy that car. Look into the terms and conditions of the paperwork you were given when you placed your order. You'll probably lose the deposit and, technically, the dealer might be able to pursue you for losses from the cancelled order. These should be minimal, though, as the dealer should be able to sell the car to someone else. Coronavirus: Advice on buying, running and owning a car during the outbreak https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/coronavirus/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-car-buyers-and-owners/
Answered by Andrew Brady
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As long as they don't exit their vehicle, can over 70s still drive when in isolation?

You gave out info regarding driving while in isolation/over 70's, saying that if taking the car out we could not exit the car for any reason. You said the info came from Public Health. As I and most of my family and friends are in this group, can you clarify this, please? I have searched and cannot find this info anywhere else.
The Government is advising all over-70s to limit their social contact during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and stay at home. Public Health England has told us directly that people at 'increased risk' can use their vehicle but should not exit the vehicle if they are likely to increase their social interaction. If you can, stay at home and ask family, friends or neighbours to support you. If this is not possible, then the public sector, business, charities, and the general public are gearing up to help deliver food and essentials to those who are deemed at risk. All of the Government's coronavirus advice can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults For advice on buying, running and owning a car during the outbreak, see: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/coronavirus/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-car-buyers-and-owners
Answered by Dan Powell
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I'm about to go into 12 weeks isolation because of coronavirus- what should I do about tax and insurance?

I am 78 years old and for the next 12 weeks will be in isolation. My car will be garaged and not driven in those weeks. Where do I stand with regards to my insurance and car tax if it is not being used?
If you are putting your car into storage then I would recommend keeping the insurance running but placing the vehicle on SORN and getting refund on the road tax VED. You will then be able to drive the car on SORN to a pre-booked MoT appointment at a later date and tax the car when it has passed. For more coronavirus motoring advice, see: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/coronavirus/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-car-buyers-and-owners
Answered by Dan Powell
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If people begin storing their cars for self isolation - will all the alarms go off as the batteries degrade?

If a car battery slowly degrades because of lack of use during the Covid-19 four months' isolation period, will the alarm go off at some point and continue to do so? I'm thinking of many people in my area who may be in that position.
This situation varies from make and model of car. I would recommend fitting a trickle charger to the battery, like the C-TEK MXS 5.0: https://kit.honestjohn.co.uk/reviews/review-ctek-battery-charger-mxs-50/ For more advice for buying, running and storing a vehicle during the coronavirus outbreak see: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/coronavirus/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-car-buyers-and-owners/#storing-a-car
Answered by Dan Powell
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Is the industry planning to help people who've got cars on finance but may no longer be able to afford to pay because of coronavirus?

Have you heard if the automotive industry is going to offer any support for people with leased cars?
There are Government plans to help people facing difficulties as a result of the coronavirus outbreak - including business loans and mortgage breaks - but nothing specific has been outlined for personal loans or car finance. If you are worried about your income or maintaining payments, I would recommend speaking with the lease company to see if they are able to provide a payment break or some other form of help. For more advice on buying, running and owning a car during the coronavirus outbreak, see: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/coronavirus/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-car-buyers-and-owners
Answered by Dan Powell
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Trapped in Portugal because of Coronavirus - what can I do?

I'm stuck in Portugal with my car because of Coronavirus and no idea when I can get back to UK (borders closed,ferries cancelled etc), and therefore unable to renew my MOT when it expires. My car insurance covers me for driving in EU but am I still covered when my MOT runs out and I have no way of renewing it?
I think this would be seen as being outside the range of your control. You are always still covered even when the mot expires, as that is not proof of "roadworthness", as long as the car "is" roadworthy you will be insured. Coronavirus: Advice on buying, running and owning a car during the outbreak https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/coronavirus/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-car-buyers-and-owners/
Answered by Tim Kelly
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Should I accept an offer for my car of hold off because of Coronavirus?

I had a very good offer from a trader for my car now even if not buying another just yet. Do you think trade in prices will plunge in the next few weeks? Also, should one be able to buy in a few weeks, are prices likely to be very keen as dealers strive to shift stock?
Average used prices are expected to climb in the coming weeks, but the price spikes will be dependant on the make, model and condition of car: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/news/coronavirus/2020-03/coronavirus-used-car-prices-set-to-soar-as-coronavirus-hits-new-car-production/ There will be delays to new factory ordered cars, but there are lots of delivery mileage pre-reg vehicles on the market, which means you will be in a very strong position to find an as-new replacement: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/cars-for-sale/search/?age=1&l=0&miles=1000&s=PriceAsc
Answered by Dan Powell
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Salesman told me my car had cruise control but it doesn't - can I reject the vehicle?

The salesman told me my Ford Fiesta ST has adaptive cruise control but it doesn’t and it can’t be retrofitted. Can I reject the car? The manager says Terms and Conditions says specs can change, but surely they have to tell me rather that hide it.
Have you got it written down somewhere that it will have adaptive cruise control? Unfortunately, if you're going on the word of the sales person alone, you'll struggle to reject the car on this basis. If you keep complaining to your dealer, they might offer you something as a gesture of goodwill. That's probably the best you can hope for.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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We are storing our car due to Coronavirus - are there precautions to take to keep it in good order?

My Toyota Prius (17 reg) is mainly used for short runs, up to about 35 miles.This has never caused me any problems, however, in the present times, l feel it is likely to be used even less. We're in our 80's and it is garaged. Are there any precautions I should take to ensure that the battery is kept in good condition?
Consider fitting a trickle charger if you're leaving it for a long period. We'd recommend this one: https://kit.honestjohn.co.uk/reviews/review-ctek-battery-charger-mxs-50/
Answered by Andrew Brady
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How can we look after our car if we're quarantined for three months?

As we (both in our 70s) will be self isolating for three months, what is the best thing to do to look after our cars? We have a Volvo V70 D4 and a Seat Ibiza (petrol). I am always worried when it comes to keeping the battery charged, which is one of things I'm sure you will advise, as if it is disconnected I imagine everything switches off and how do you safely attach charging leads with the battery still connected?
It might be an idea to buy a smart battery charger. We rate the CTEK MXS 5.0 12v battery charger and you can also order it online and have it delivered to your home: https://kit.honestjohn.co.uk/reviews/review-ctek-battery-charger-mxs-50/ Switch off the interior and exterior light(s), radio and boot light(s) before switching off the ignition - this should minimise the risk of battery drain. I would also recommend inflating the tyres to 40PSI to prevent flat spotting.
Answered by Dan Powell
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Coronavirus: Advice on buying, running and owning a car during the outbreak

 

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