Wednesday October 2, 2019
With summer quickly turning into autumn and winter, it’s time to think about preparing your classic car for hibernation. Storing your vehicle so that it’s protected from the elements will help prevent corrosion and keep out those musty smells that can permeate your car’s interior.
Unfortunately, there’s a bit more to storing a classic car than just sticking it in the garage for six months. But at the same time, it’s not exactly rocket science.
In this step-by-step guide, we’ll cover everything that can do to protect your investment – including investing in classic car insurance – so that you can rest easy that your vintage motor is retaining its value as the cold months start to bite.
Before putting your car away
So, you’ve found somewhere you can store your car over the winter – great news. As long as the space is clean, dry, damp-free and secure (i.e. somewhere close that you can monitor), you can’t go far wrong.
The alternative to a garage or outhouse is a weather-proof cover, which isn’t ideal but it’s better than nothing.
Before you reverse your vehicle away, you’ll need to spend a few hours ensuring it’s prepared for what’s to come.
Here are some top tips on winter-proofing your car from the motoring experts at The Sunday Times:
Get the chamois out
Protecting the paintwork is often the main priority for most classic car owners.
Rust is the ultimate enemy – if you give it half a chance, it won’t waste any time making its way through a panel or two.
Over the course of a few months during the winter, it can do some untreatable damage to your classic car, which is more prone to rust because it doesn’t have the same protection as modern vehicles.
The best protection you can give your classic car is a thorough chamois clean.
While water alone won’t generate rust, the grit, the salt, the dirt and grime that gets mixed in with it when you’re out on the road can start the tin-worm off.
Hosepipe it off and, once it’s dry, give it a wax and a polish.
As a classic car enthusiast, you’re probably the type of person to wax your vehicle anyway and are aware of the benefits of doing so.
There only rule of waxing is you can never use too much.
So be liberal in your application and make sure you coat all the exposed areas, including under the vehicle (get some WD40 out for the hard-to-reach places that require lubrication), not forgetting the rubber parts which could also perish in the cold weather.
Crack open the windows
We mentioned at the top of this article how unwelcome smells can take over your classic car if it’s not well ventilated.
The chances of this happening are exacerbated when your vehicle is tucked up for long periods with nobody using it.
To prevent your car going ‘stale’, crack open a couple of windows and let a bit of air circulate.
The only downsides to this are the safety risks and the possibility of small animals making a home in your classic car.
But you can reduce these risks by ensuring the unit where you’re storing your car is fully secured, and by removing any crumbs or dirt in the car that will attract mice and other creatures.
Unplug the battery
Car batteries can be frustrating components – failing on you at the worst possible moment and without any warning.
Part of the reason for that is because they slowly eke-out power when they’re not in use.
So to prevent you returning to a lifeless battery when you go to start your classic car come spring, disconnect it. This will preserve its charge over the winter months.
If that sounds a bit fiddly, the next-best thing is to start the car once a week and run it for 10 minutes or so.
Look after the wipers and handbrake
Every car owner has experienced frozen wiper blades at some point. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but it’s an unnecessary expense to have to replace them.
To prevent your wiper blades going stiff and useless, simply lift them off the windscreen, which will prevent moisture collecting on the rubber (which freezes solid on the glass).
The handbrake can have the winter off, too. They are prone to seizing on older cars due to rust – but if you leave it off, it won’t build up any wear and tear.
If you’re worried about the prospect of your classic car slipping away without you knowing, put a couple of blocks or bricks behind the wheels to keep it stationery.
Whilst the car is in storage
If you’ve carried out all of the above, you’ve done a great job of protecting your pride and joy for the winter months – but your work isn’t over just yet.
Periodically throughout the time your car is in storage, you should:
Run the engine
As well as recharging the battery, running the engine will allow fluids to circulate.
Check the fluid levels
The last thing you want to do is turn the ignition on your classic car when the fluid levels are low, as it could cause catastrophic engine damage.
So, before running the engine check the fluid levels including the oil, coolant/antifreeze, brake fluid and transmission fluid, topping up where necessary.
Treat any rust spots
If you spot any rust when checking on your classic car, deal with it there and then if you can.
Apply lubricant regularly to slow down the spread of rust and help prevent further corrosion.
Clean away any dirt
If your vehicle manages to pick up any dirt whilst in storage – heavy winds can force dirt through the smallest of gaps – clean it off.
Finding the right classic car insurance
As we’re specialists here at Lancaster Insurance, we have access to competitive classic car insurance and vintage car insurance schemes in the UK.
As a leading reputable specialist in classic car insurance, for over 30 years, we are committed to offering our customers a wealth of experience and exceptional customer service.
We work with carefully selected underwriters to enable us to offer both comprehensive and bespoke insurance solutions, with our customers in mind.
Using our great experience and knowledge of the industry, we are able to quote for virtually every classic car available, even those models that are hard to insure.
To get a quote for your classic, call our team on 01480 484826 today.