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Care for your Classic Car

07 November 2018

With Winter on our doorstep, car maintenance is a hot topic especially when it comes to our cherished classic cars. For some classic owners, their cars may go into hibernation over the coming months but for others it will be out and about whatever the weather.

Preparing your classic for winter is one of the best things you can do for it, as it will stand in good stead for the following year.

We have come up with a few tips around storing your classic in the right, protective environment and making sure it will withhold the winter weather conditions.

1. Clean Your Classic

Before storage, it is wise to thoroughly clean your classic’s body. AA’s Patrol of the Year, Jon Snowling advises owners to “remove mud, dirt and road salt that harbours moisture to help prevent corrosion”. It’s also useful removing insects and tar spots from paintwork to avoid acid etching.

2. Paint Touch-Up

With stones and loose gravel hitting paintwork, attending to these will prevent moisture getting under the surface.

3. Washers and Wipers

Wipers are definitely given little thought until torrential rain hits or when we really need them, and they don’t work properly. Renewing your wipers can give a classic a new lease of life, as well as showing a better view.

4. Fit a new windscreen

Fuzz Townshend advises to change the windscreen as most are still fitted with the original – it will have been at the mercy of dirt and grit for thousands of miles over the years and a build-up of microscopic particles can be dangerous when the sun is low at this time of year.

5. Prevent Rust

Using the likes of WD-40 to paint any unpainted metal parts under your classic can prevent rust however Jon Snowling advises to avoid spraying belts, hoses and braking surfaces.

6. Get Wheel Arch Protection

Until the 1980s, most cars were not fitted with wheel arches which meant exposing metal to fierce corrosive elements and so rot profusely.

7. Plenty of Ventilation

If you’re storing your car, ensure the area is well ventilated as your classic will be exposed to condensation. Prop the windows open slightly and it may be wise to invest in a basic dehumidifier.

8. Fit an alternator

With the dark nights and cold weather, heaters and lights will sap battery power. Many classics are fitted with dynamos which will battle to keep the cars battery charged, especially if you’re running extra things like Sat Navs and CD players.

9. Top up the fuel and Anti-Freeze

Jon Snowling advises “Filling the fuel tank will reduce condensation levels that can build up over time. For long storage, it is recommended to add a fuel preservative to make sure the fuel lines don’t get clogged. Also, a clean cooling system filled with fresh formulated anti-freeze is a must to keep the winter effects away”.

10. Invest in a good car cover.

Covering your classic will keep dust, dirt and small animals away from your car however using an old duvet isn’t a great idea and if it is stored outside, make sure the cover is waterproof and tied securely. It is best to avoid a plastic tarp as this could damage the paint.

11. Check your Electrical Earths

One of the most unnoticed areas on a classic car are its electrical earths which can get wrecked by winter dirt. Poor battery earthing can reduce the charging capabilities. Clean them up and you’ll be surprised at which functions spring back to life.

12. Don’t use the Handbrake

Auto Express recommend when your classic is in storage, leaving the handbrake on risks fusing the brake pads to discs. Instead, use tyre stoppers to prevent the car from rolling.

Here at Autoline, we have a specialist team that shares your appreciation for Classic Cars and who are committed to getting you the best insurance deal possible. 

Call our Classic Car Team today on 028 705 11010.