The classic car season is coming to a close. A cold, damp atmosphere is not kind to classics and putting them away until springtime brings some warmer days is often the best option. What are the steps you need to take to lay your classic up for the Winter?
After driving throughout the summer season, your classic will have picked up dust and unlucky insects across the paintwork which can have a corrosive effect. If you do not thoroughly clean your car, this will be left to bed in during the winter months- when there is also more moisture in the air. That means using an appropriate mix of interior and exterior car care products.
However, it is important to make sure you dry your classic off with a microfibre cloth, especially the brakes. If brakes are left when wet, the pads can stick to the discs and cause rust. It is also a good idea to park up your classic and leave the handbrake off if possible- as this can have a tendency to seize.
Changing your oil before you store your classic over the winter is important. The oil used over summer could have impurities and acids suspended within the fluid that could have a corrosive effect on your engine components. When it comes to replenishing your engine oil, we recommend using MOTUL 20w50 due to the tacky additive which leaves a protective film on engine components. As your classic could have been sat for several months without moving, this protective film is extremely helpful on that very first start up after the winter. You can read about MOTUL 20w50 and the other benefits for your classic here.
Unless you have a heated garage, your classic is going to get cold. Anything that contains water is likely to freeze up e.g., coolant and washer fluid. Check your screenwash and antifreeze in your coolant levels before you store your classic and ensure you have used the correct mix to prevent it from freezing.
You may be tempted to fire up your classic from time to time and leave it to run. However, this can cause a moisture build-up within the exhaust and engine which could be damaging. If there is a sunny January day, wrap up warm and take your classic out for a drive! Just make sure the journey is 10 miles or longer so the engine and exhaust have time to warm up and moisture has evaporated/cleared.
When you leave any car for an extended period of time and come to start it again, your battery may have suffered. Inactivity can cause the battery to drain and the cold can even cause it to freeze. To make sure the battery isn’t drained over the winter, disconnect the battery terminals and connect it to a battery conditioner to keep the charge in the battery.
As everyone knows, the only contact your car has with the road is through the tyres. If your car is left to sit for an extended period of time, it will be resting on one section of that tyre. To look after your tyres over the winter months, inflate them by an extra 10-15psi to keep them firm and raise it off the floor on axle stands. Do not leave your car held on a jack.
Although the oil in your classic should be changed before you put your classic away for the Winter, the same cannot be said for the brake fluid. As brake fluid is hygroscopic, it takes on moisture from the air over time. That’s why it is recommended to change your brake fluid every two years (even more frequently if your car is used for racing). The best time to do this is just before you come to take your car out after Winter, so that your brake fluid is fresh and has not had the winter months to take on moisture- making it less effective.