Lets face it, we all love our classics and the warm sunny day of the spring and summer are a joy to all classic enthusiasts. Unfortunately, here in the UK, there is no such thing as an endless summer, the clocks have gone back, the nights drawn in and the days are getting colder and we need to decide how best to treat our classics through the winter months. We basically have two options.
Use your classic
As many of us benefit from free road tax these days, the option of simply taking your classic off the road for the colder months is not always an option; as cooler crisp days are often great for us to take the opportunity to go for a spin. However, salt spreading is the trend this season and we must do our best to counter against the dreaded rust.
Keep it clean
As well as keeping the bodywork clean ad-free from dirt (and salt), we must take care of the underside of our classics too. Simple rinsing the underside of your classic as well as up underneath the wheel arches is good practice.
Protect it underneath
We must assure that the underside of the car is liberally coated in a good underseal and a good dose of cavity wax in the right places. Following these simple tips will leave you safe in the knowledge that you have done your best to protect your pride and joy against the very worst that winter can throw at it.
Store your classic
Some of us like to keep our classics off the roads and away from harm over the winter months, especially if the classic in question is a show queen. This however raises a number of questions about the best way to store it.
Make sure its clean and dry
If taking this option, it is undoubtedly better to make sure that your classic is well cleaned and polished before its hibernation. I find that after the washing and polishing is done, on a dry day, it is best to go out for a spin to allow the engine, exhaust system and brakes to get nice and warm, allowing your classic to get absolutely dry before it is laid up.
Keep the battery in good shape
Once in the garage disconnect the battery, but remember to charge it once a month or so through the period of storage. Better still, buy a battery conditioner that will mimic the charge and discharge characteristics that the battery experiences when in use. This will assure that your classic is ready for you come the spring.
What about the tyres?
Allowing your classic to sit in storage risks flat spotting the tyres as the weight of the vehicle is constantly on them in the same position, thus can distort the tyres over time. If raising your classic on axle stands while in storage is not practical, you can over inflate the tyres to keep them in shape. However, beware, do not exceed the maximum pressure found on the wall of the tyre.
Do I put the handbrake on?
This is a really simple one; no you do not put the handbrake on. As your classic is likely to be out of use for three or four months, leaving the handbrake on runs the risk of the mechanism sticking it the on position; especially it the brakes are damp when your classic is laid up. What you should do however, to stop your classic rolling about, is to leave it in gear if you have a manual transmission, or in park if you have an automatic.
Get those jobs done
Whether you keep your classic on the road through the winter months or store it, the likelihood is that you will have less opportunity to take it out than through the summer; after all, the winter season really does slow down the frequency of meets and shows compared to the summer months. This gives the ideal opportunity to address those little jobs that have been bugging you for a while.
Start this process by making a list of what you want to achieve, decide if it is something that you can do yourself, after all we all love a bit of tinkering, or is it something that you need a little help with.
Without doubt, you know your classic the best, so use your list to identify any new parts that you might need. See if you can find these through your usual suppliers, or by searching websites like eBay, gumtree and enthusiasts’ forums.
With the jobs you need help with, the age of your classic means that some are perhaps body, trim, paint or chrome related. The the team at Proline are here to help with all the jobs you cannot tackle yourself; be it paintwork, panel alignment, welding, electrical work or trim related, we are here with the skills and experience to help.