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A Winter Care Guide Part-2

Wise up to Winter Published: 10th Jun 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

A Winter Care Guide  Part-2 Store lovingly of course but don’t be afraid to use your classic as and when as a good run keeps seizures at bay
A Winter Care Guide  Part-2 Change the oil as old lube contains harmful acids
A Winter Care Guide  Part-2 Anti-freeze is vital so ensure yours us good enough
A Winter Care Guide  Part-2 Spray de-watering agent all ignition parts regularly
A Winter Care Guide  Part-2 If you intend to use your classic, ensure that ignition is spot on with new points, plugs and leads if suspect
A Winter Care Guide  Part-2 Don’t have to raise car but keep the tyres slightly over inflated if car is to be standing to avoid flat spots
A Winter Care Guide  Part-2 Check battery with a hydrometer and charge/top up regularly otherwise lack of use will kill it by spring
A Winter Care Guide  Part-2 Salt is a real worry for older cars so jet wash the underside before storing or is ever you go out for a spin
A Winter Care Guide  Part-2 A sturdy (ventilated) car cover is better than nothing
A Winter Care Guide  Part-2 Coat exposed parts with WD-40 type spray to protect
A Winter Care Guide  Part-2 Attend to rust now as a bad winter will make it worse

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Only an idiot would simply lock up their classic and put their feet up over the coming cold months. A little time and care now will save you a lot of trouble and expense come spring. Here are our top winter warming tips!

Early spring clean

Before you put your classic away for the winter, give it a thorough spring clean and clear out. Leaving old dirt and grime on the body and the interior only causes problems come re-commissioning time. We don’t advise cutting the old paint back - indeed that old layer of paint acts as a protective shield. If possible, apply wax/oil-based preserving fluid to hollow cavities around vehicle and underbody, before car is laid up. Certainly attend to any stone chips or exposed scratches before storing. Any paint (or polish etc) will do until you can repair the damage properly – the important thing is to cover that bare metal. Hoover the interior out and clean off any stains or grime on the trim - it will only get worse over the winter. Remove the carpets and store them in your house if you can and close the car’s windows and air vents, but do open the car up regularly to allow air to circulate and keep an eye out for mildew damage.

Sleep easy

Inactivity is a classic car killer. Just letting your pride and joy stagnate will only lead to future trouble and expense and a day of sorting and servicing now will ensure you the joys of spring. Most experts advocate changing the engine’s oil even if the unit isn’t to be run during hibernation as old lube may contain harmful acids that cause 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. There’s also divided opinion over what to do with the fuel tank as unleaded can go “off” if left dormant. That said, an empty tank attracts condensation leading to the prospect of internal rust and gummed up fuel lines. A compromise is to leave the tank 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 products to prevent tank corrosion. Tank Safe is one such pour-in additive. That friend of every classic car owner – WD40 or similar - should be sprayed liberally around the engine, and especially the electrics, to keep moisture at bay and prevent surface rust forming on the carbs, throttle linkages, battery terminals and so on. Don’t leave the box of sparks to discharge due to lack of use as this will lead to premature failure. If possible, remove the battery to trickle charge regularly. If this is not feasible, then at the very least disconnect the battery to prevent the chance of an electrical fire.

Time to chill

Don’t be a cheapskate by simply draining the cooling system - always use anti-freeze. True, in theory an engine without water can’t freeze up and crack the engine block or blow a core plug, but anti-freeze also contains corrosion inhibitors, which are essential to protect alloy engines. Testers are cheap, but you can simply take a sample and put it in their freezer overnight as an indicator. But even if it is up to strength it’s still advisable to change it every few of years to keep the corrosion inhibitor quality up to spec.

Don’t forget…

Leave the handbrake off to prevent the brakes locking on. The clutch plate can rust onto the flywheel; prevent this by using a broom handle or similar to keep the pedal fully depressed. Failing this, check on the car every couple of weeks (always a good idea anyway) and pump the brake and clutch pedals a few times to keep those mechanisms free. Should you raise the car up on axle stands to take the weight off the suspension and tyres? It’s a personal decision and years ago the practice was advised. We’d simply ensure the tyres are inflated to a couple of pounds over their normal settings and regularly check them for slow leaks. A regular run does any car- and you - a power of good! Don’t let your insurance lapse even if you are not going to use your car though because what happens if there’s an accident, fire or theft? Most classic car insurers can provide short term or storage cover. And remember that if the road tax runs out, you must inform the DVLA and register the car as SORN. Don’t think that just because your classic isn’t roadworthy and is perhaps an on going restoration that none of this applies to you. Many a project has been spoiled by not preserving the car (and its parts, which may be dismantled) over the winter months, undoing all the previous good work. It used to be common practice to store cars over the winter, 40-50 years ago. It’s still a wise move but only if you do it right.

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