Salt, dampness, mud, snow… the harsh weather season is with us (we already had 12 inches of snow in Bridgnorth!) and it is easy to want to tuck your classic in for the winter. If you are not using your car all-year round, looking after it over the winter months will pay its rewards in the next spring season when you take it out of hibernation for your first drive. There are a number of things you can do to protect it:
Keep it dry and dust free: Before putting your car into hibernation, we recommend a thorough valet and polish to better protect the paint and components. Once in storage, if a carcoon is not an option, consider a breathable soft cover and ensure that the area is waterproof and that air can circulate.
Battery: We recommend using a trickle charger or a battery conditioner to keep your battery in tip top charge throughout long periods of inactivity in the garage without the risk of over charging.
Pumped up tyres: Keep the tyres inflated, preferably beyond the normal recommended level, to avoid flat spotting and use a use a pressure gauge to monitor levels over the storage months.
Antifreeze mix: Getting the antifreeze and water mix right is essential; otherwise the water can corrode all the internal components of the engine. Even if there is not a risk of freezing, consider using the antifreeze as it contains corrosion inhibitors that help prevent this from happening (minimum 30:70 or recommended 50:50 mix).
The handbrake: never leave the handbrake on for prolonged periods of time as this will likely result in seized brakes; simply put it in gear or use chocks instead.
Fresh air: Find a suitable dry day and salt-free roads, take your car out. Try to give it a 15-20 minute run every now and then so that the components are exercised. This will avoid mechanical deterioration and generally make your car more reliable. Don’t be tempted to simply fire up the engine without taking the car for a drive; this can actually cause more damage.
Don’t forget about the taxman! Tell DVLA you are taking your vehicle off the road via a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). You’ll get a refund for any full months of remaining tax. You can’t use the vehicle on the road until you tax it again.
We can help with all aspects of classic car ownership, from valeting to dry storage and general servicing so that your car is ready to be enjoyed next Spring. Please contact us for more to discuss your needs.