Classic cars need special attention; especially if youre back to being a weekend warrior after eating up miles of open road over the holiday season. So, here are some top tips for post-season classic car care.
While major services should be left to the professionals, there are essential car maintenance steps that every owner should follow for vehicles not in regular use, according to classic car specialist and CEO of Creative Rides, Kevin Derrick.
You dont need to be an expert to keep your classic car in good shape, but you do need to devote time to caring for your vehicle.
Rust, sunlight and corrosion are your biggest enemies, so keeping those at bay is where you should start, says Derrick.
Cleaning: Before doing anything else, wash the car thoroughly. This includes hosing down the undercarriage and getting under the bonnet with some mild detergent to remove any build-up of dirt in the engine compartment.
Waxing: One of the best ways to protect your cars bodywork from corrosion is regular waxing. Before every wax, check the car carefully for signs of rust. Any spots should be treated with lubricant to prevent spread before waxing and polishing the whole vehicle.
Top-up fluids: Check your engine fluids regularly to keep your vehicle running smoothly. Do you have enough engine oil, brake fluid and engine coolant? Keep a supply in your garage.
Petrol: Dont leave the tank empty or low on petrol. This encourages the build-up of condensation and can lead to problems down the line. Get into the habit of topping up your tank after every journey, especially if your car isnt going to be in regular use. Lubricant can also be added to the petrol to protect your fuel tank from corroding while its off the road. There are a couple of good products currently on the market.
Tyres: If you park your car for an extended period, youll risk the tyres warping or going flat. Before storing your car, make sure the tyres are fully inflated to the recommended pressure or even slightly above to compensate for natural deflation over time.
Sunlight: If humanly possible, never leave your car in the sun for extended periods. The best place for a classic car is in a garage one without windows. If your garage has windows, invest in durable, easy-to-clean blinds to keep the light off your car when its parked inside.
Covering up: No matter where your car is stored, it should also be kept under a breathable car cover. With big doors, more dust tends to get into garages than any other enclosed spaces, so cover up even inside.
Disconnect the battery: If you wont be driving your car for a few weeks, disconnect the battery so that it discharges at a slower rate. Alternatively, connect your battery to a trickle charger to keep it full.
Tyres: Reverse your car in and out of your garage every week to prevent tyres from warping from the weight of the car resting on the same pressure points. If your car isnt going to be driven for more than a month, consider removing the wheels altogether. Leave the car raised on jacks and store the tyres horizontally in a dry place.
Air circulation: Open the windows a few centimetres to allow for air circulation if your car is stored in a locked garage. If youre not going to be using your car for more than a few weeks, leave a couple of open boxes of baking soda or cornflour inside to prevent odours and mould.
Avoid humidity: If you live on the coast, invest in a dehumidifier for your garage to prevent the build-up of condensation and the growth of mould; both of which lead to rust and corrosion.
Brakes: Handbrake cables are more likely to seize in classic cars than modern vehicles, so dont use the handbrake for long-term storage; chock the wheels instead.
Do weekly checks: Sit in the drivers seat once a week and depress the clutch and brake pedals to free up the mechanisms. Also, turn the steering wheel and lock each gear into place to prevent the components from seizing.
Classic cars need a little more love and attention, but its worth putting in the time to keep performance optimal and retain the value of your investment, says Derrick.