Relaxation of Restrictions & the Surge of Staycations

Yesterday, the Northern Ireland Executive announced the further relaxation of Covid restrictions in Northern Ireland. From Monday 24th May, indoor hospitality can reopen as well as tourist accommodation.

With hotels and accommodation now open there will be many more staycations being booked whilst foreign travel remains somewhat restricted. Many more motorists will be travelling further afield by car. You may be visiting the North Coast or the Lakes of Fermanagh, travelling a hundred miles away from your home. Or, you might take a leap and travel by the Stena Line ferry or P&O ferry across the water to bonny Scotland or England. Either way, you’ll be embarking on a longer journey than your car has been used to recently. With many people working from home during lockdown, cars have been parked at the front door and have barely made it past the corner shop. MIS Breakdown have seen a vast increase in home starts for flat batteries due to vehicle inactivity. However, we now project a lot more breakdowns out on the road whilst travelling and so the need for roadside assistance and breakdown recovery is increasing.

MIS Breakdown provide cover across Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and the UK which is perfect for those day trips and staycations that the relaxation of restrictions now allows. We have hundreds of breakdown recovery agents across all these areas to ensure there is an agent with you within 60-90 minutes of your call to us.

In addition to an increase in roadside assistance, we also predict an increase in car accidents and claims due to the rise in the number of vehicles back on the roads. If you are involved in an accident whilst on a staycation or away from home, here are a few tips:

  • Exchange details with any other party involved in the accident including name, address, contact number, vehicle registration, make & model and insurance details
  • Take photos of your vehicle and the other vehicle involved, even if there is no damage
  • Take photos of the scene of the accident showing any road markings along with the positions of the vehicles on the road
  • If your vehicle isn’t driveable after the accident, call us if you are an MIS Breakdown customer, if you are non-fault or if you are insured with a broker or insurance company we work with and we can arrange recovery of your vehicle.
  • If your car requires repairs we can discuss your options with you

MIS will take care of everything for you so you can continue to enjoy your staycation. To make sure you are prepared, download our app which has a handy location finding service along with our direct contact numbers so we are always on hand. Don’t forget we have a 24hour helpline, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, so we can assist you anytime, day or night.

We hope you all enjoy your staycations and stay safe!

Tips To Keep You Ticking Over

During the current Coronavirus pandemic lockdown, the majority of us are unable to leave the house unless for essential trips such as work (if unable to work from home or if you are a key worker), travelling to the shop for essentials or medications, providing medical care or going for our one exercise a day. Due to this many cars, vans and other vehicles are remaining stationary in the driveway or outside our homes for long periods of time. Whilst you may be glad that you are saving a few pennies on fuel, you could end up spending a few pennies elsewhere.

Cars are mechanically propelled vehicles that have cogs, mechanisms and a whole brain within the engine and chassis. Leaving a vehicle unused for a period of time can cause all kinds of problems which we want to help you avoid! Heres what you need to do:

1) Give Your Battery a Boost

Flat batteries are extremely common due to the current situation and approximately 70% of the clients we assisted over the past weekend alone had flat batteries. In order to prevent this, we recommend that you start your vehicle every day or two and allow it to run for at least 15 minutes in order to charge the battery. It is important to remember that you should not leave your vehicle unassisted during this time. Use the 15 minutes to your advantage – get some peace, listen to the radio or make a few phone calls.

If you happen to have two vehicles in the household and you are popping out for some essential items, alternate between the two vehicles for these essential trips.

Remember to turn off any lights (both interior and exterior) and ensure all doors and the boot are closed properly to help prevent the battery running down.

2) Seize The Day, Not Your Brakes

Whilst sitting stationary for long periods of time, your brakes and other mechanically moving parts can begin to seize. If possible and safe to do so try and release your handbrake and use the brake pedal to apply the foot brake a few times, every so often. Due to the current lockdown restrictions it is not advised that you go for purposeless drives or journeys. When driving restrictions are lifted in the future we recommend that you check break pads and discs to ensure they are in working order and your vehicle is safe to drive.

3) Restrict The Revving

When you start up your car, you may be tempted to rev the engine thinking that this will help the engine after not running for a few days. However, this is not the case. It is best to avoid revving the engine when it is cold as the oil needs time to heat up and circulate around the engine to prevent any possible damage.

4) Eliminate the Elements

Whilst sitting outside in the ever-changing weather, your car may get weather beaten. The damp and cold can affect your car, and likewise so can the heat. We recommend you keep your vehicle in a car port or garage if you have one to protect it from the harsh elements. This will especially help protect your paintwork and prevent rust and other weather damage.

5) Holler for Help

If you do require assistance to jump start your car or you require any other roadside assistance, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 028 9041 0220 where our agents can assist you 24/7.

If you do not have a breakdown policy, you can purchase our policy for just £25 online which covers for home start, punctures, mechanical breakdown, fuel shortage/ wrong fuel and much more. Terms and Conditions apply.

Please note: all government restrictions should be strictly adhered to.

Coronavirus Car Cleaning

A few weeks ago you may have seen our Instagram story of some car cleaning tips, if not, we are bringing them to you here. We are all cleaning the surfaces around every inch of our house and work but what about our cars? When you think of how many times a week you are in and out of your car you may wonder why you don’t clean it more often!

On a normal morning (before the coronavirus that is) you struggle into your car with files, bags, lunch and essential coffee in hand. You open the door whilst dropping your yoghurt onto the ground (disaster!), you slump into the driver seat, place your coffee into the cup holder, put the key in ignition and place your hands on the steering wheel ready to go (hands placed at 10 to 2, of course). Next up, you put your car into gear, reverse or drive, remove the hand brake and you are off. A few minutes in, you realise someone has changed your radio station to Classic FM (no judging if that’s what you’re into, it can be quite relaxing at times) so you switch the station over, then you turn the volume up. It’s a bit chilly so you turn the heating on, turning the temperature dial to the warmest it can be. Low and behold, the rain has come on in typical Irish fashion so you turn the window wipers on. Your fuel light comes on so you stop to get fuel. You open the petrol cap, lift the petrol pump, fill your tank (how the other half live!) and then you head in to the cashier to pay. You hand over some cash, receive your change, head back to the car, lift the door handle, close the door and ahhh back to the heat. You start the whole process again…and that is only ten minutes into your journey.

In doing all of that, think of how many surfaces, switches, buttons and handles you have touched in such a short space of time. Think of how many more times you are going to touch the same surfaces in the same day or the same week. What if you have picked up the virus or any other germ and you have had this on your hand? Now, think of how many times you’ve cleaned all these surfaces in the past week…probably not once.

The car has so many surfaces in which we touch yet we do not seem to think of cleaning it quite as often as we would clean our kitchen or bathroom surfaces. Now, more than ever, it is extremely important to remember to clean all of these surfaces on a regular basis.

We used Dettol wipes to clean down all the surfaces and switches which was an easy no-fuss method and only took five minutes. The details on the back of the wipes state that Dettol can destroy the coronavirus on surfaces. However, you may find another alternative antibacterial wipe which does the same job. We also used some Zoflora (just call us Mrs Hinch) which we diluted and sprayed on surfaces. Zoflora is a disinfectant and also leaves your car smelling divine. We recommend that you use disposable gloves during the cleaning process.

Here is a list of areas you should remember to clean:

  • car key
  • door handles (inside and out)
  • steering wheel
  • indicator toggles
  • gearstick
  • handbrake
  • centre consoles
  • cup holders
  • radio buttons and screens (especially if touch screen)
  • window switches
  • light switches
  • sun visor
  • glove box surface and handle
  • arm rest compartments
  • handles for adjusting seat height or position
  • lever handles for moving seats forward (usually in a three door vehicle)
  • petrol cap
  • boot handle
  • temperature and air conditioning controls

We also recommend airing out your car once a day. To do this simply have your window open whilst driving or when you get home leave the window or door open for a short period of time as long as you are in a safe place and it isn’t raining of course. This will refresh the air inside your car. Please do not leave your keys inside your car whilst doing so.

If possible, keep some hand sanitiser in your car to use every time you are out of the car or when you get back in. However, we understand hand sanitiser is like gold dust in the current times, so we suggest not leaving it in plain visible sight whilst you are not in the vehicle. Treat it like the valuable it is!

With all that in mind, let the car cleaning commence!

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