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Winter Warming Tips

Winter Warming Tips Published: 29th Jan 2015 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Winter Warming Tips
Winter Warming Tips
Winter Warming Tips
Winter Warming Tips
Winter Warming Tips
Winter Warming Tips
Winter Warming Tips
Winter Warming Tips
Winter Warming Tips
Winter Warming Tips
Winter Warming Tips
Winter Warming Tips
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Don’t simply lay your classic up and hope for the best! Here’s some top winter warming tips to ensure your car doesn’t suffer from the common cold this season


Even though you may not want to use it for months, don’t simply put a dirty car, van or lorry away. Leaving old dirt and grime on the body and the interior will only cause problems. Although some like to do it, we don’t advocate cutting the paint back; indeed that old layer of paint acts as a useful protective shield.


Hoover the interior out and clean off stains or grime on the trim – it will only get worse over the winter. If you can, remove the carpets and sound deadening insulation and store them in your house. Close all windows and air vents, but open up regularly to allow fresh air to circulate and ward off mildew.


Some experts advocate changing the engine’s oil even if the unit isn’t to be run during the hibernation period because the old lube may contain harmful acids that can result in internal corrosion. Dedicated storage oils are available from the likes of Millers, Penrite and Morris Lubricants; these give off a mist to protect the inner workings as the oil lays in the sump. Remember, however to change the oil and filter before you use the car next season.


The biggest concern laying a vehicle up has to be seizing up – from little linkages to complete engines! The ideal solution is to drive it regularly but for some that’s not possible. To ward off problems, get out the grease, grease gun and WD-40 and lubricate all the moving parts you can think of – even door hinges and locks! Brakes, especially handbrakes will stick on, so, if possible, chock the wheels and leave it off. Clutch plates rust on to the flywheel; trick here is to wedge a broom handle against the pedal so it separates the two permanently. If an engine isn’t run the piston rings can stick in the bore and break once started up. Ideally, turn the engine over by hand once a month.

You can pour a egg cupful of ‘Upper Cylinder Lubricant’ in each bore through the plug holes – but remember it’s there!


There’s divided opinion over what to do with the fuel tank as unleaded can go ‘off’. But an empty tank attracts condensation leading to internal rust and gummed up fuel lines. A tankful of fuel is a fire risk. A compromise is to leave it half full, and to add a gallon or two of the fresh stuff when you are about to bring the car out of hibernation. You can also buy specialised products to prevent tank corrosion.


WD-40 or similar should be sprayed liberally around the engine bay, and especially on the electrics, to keep moisture at bay plus prevent surface rust forming on the carbs, throttle linkages, battery terminals and so on.

Talking of which, don’t leave the battery to just sit there as lack of use will lead to its failure come spring. If possible, remove it to trickle charge at home regularly to keep it healthy. If this is not feasible, then at the very least, disconnect the battery to prevent the chance of an electrical fire.


Whether it’s just down your garden or a couple of miles away, you should pay monthly visits to your classic at the very least. If possible, push it out of the garage to free it up and also reduce risk of the tyres (which should be slightly over-inflated) forming flat spots. Turn the steering as you’re doing this. While you’re looking the car over, open a door to circulate air.


A regular run does any car – and you – a power of good. So if you can, take your classic out for a drive every so often – how about Boxing Day or a New Year’s Day event? Don’t let your insurance lapse even if you are not going to use your car because what happens if there’s an accident, fire or theft during lay up? Most classic car insurers can provide short term or storage cover. And remember that if the road tax runs out (even if ‘tax free’ you must inform the DVLA and register the car as SORN.

Don’t think that just because your classic isn’t roadworthy or is perhaps an on-going restoration, that none of this applies to you. Many a project has been spoiled and even ruined by not preserving the car (and its parts, which may be dismantled and strewn around the garage) over the winter months, undoing all the previous good work!


Believe it or not, your car is safer – corrosion-wise anyway – left out in the open to the elements rather than stored in a cold damp garage. Why? Condensation. Air contains moisture and when it reaches what’s known as ‘dew point’ it will settle on any object, which is why your car can look wet in a supposedly dry but unventilated garage! The answer is to buy a dehumidifier, which works in the opposite way a fridge does and so sucks moisture out of the air and places it in a ‘trap’ that you have to periodically empty. They cost from as little as £100 and 3p per hour in electric charges.


Before you make your car ready for the winter lay up, spare a couple of hours in the garage making it habitable – and safe. Have a good clear out and tidy up, securing anything that could fall on the car – like overloaded shelves! Attend to leaky roofs and make the garage as warm as possible; some lay old carpet down and block up any draughts although some ‘through-flow’ of fresh air is advisable. You can buy tailor-made car covers which are a good move – plain pvc sheeting can cause the car to ‘sweat’ and lead to microscopic blistering of the paint that only a pricey respray can solve…

Anti-freeze is going the same route as engine oils and becoming so sophisticated and dedicated to certain engine designs that using the wrong one can do more harm than good as a reaction with a different formulation can turn the coolant into a paste – need we say anymore?

All anti-free is ethylene-glycol-based these days, the difference lies in the performance packages added, essentially to combat engine corrosion. There are three types of brew in this order of technology, service life and price: Silicate, OAT (Organic Acid Technology, no less!) and latterly a special OAT/ Silicate hybrid, and they all do their job in different ways but mostly how they ‘coat’ the surfaces to give protection. That’s not all, because OAT anti-freeze also comes in three performance ‘G’ grades. It’s such a tricky subject now that you really need to go by the book with this one!

Happily, unless you own a modern classic – such as a 2001 BMW MINI – then you needn’t worry too much as any good quality anti-freeze suffices, such as Halfords Silicate or Comma’s Coldstream. Just don’t be tempted to buy one universal anti-freeze to suit both your classic and daily driver as you may cause trouble. Incidentally, as with engine oils, you can waste money purchasing an anti-freeze that’s too good and advanced for your car’s engine as it won’t protect it any better say the makers although, overall an OAT type is said to be better plus last in service for five years.

If you intend to change your engine’s anti-freeze (a cheap £2 tester will tell you if it’s necessary this year, or place a sample of it in your freezer overnight!), flush the old stuff out beforehand and use a concentrate around 33-50 per cent to be on the safe side.

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