There’s a reason why plenty of motorists love classic cars. Older motors, with their elegant lines, pared-down interiors and thrumming engines are a world apart from even the slickest of today’s autos, but given their age, they need to be treated with care and respect.
Storing classic cars is a common thing to do if the vehicle isn’t going to be driven for a while or needs to be protected from bad wintry weather, but there’s more to it than covering it with a tarp. By taking the right steps you can ensure your classic is in tip-top condition when you want to take it for a spin.
Before you store
There are a few steps you should take care of before you store away your classic car to help ensure no problems manifest themselves while it’s sat in storage.
Do a deep clean
Always thoroughly clean a classic car before putting it into storage, inside and out. Scrub the bodywork, vacuum clean and polish the interiors and give the car a thorough check for grime. For extra protection, wax-polish the bodywork and leave the wax on.
Safeguard the engine and fuel system
Change your car’s oil and oil filter before storing, as an extended period of inactivity will cause any grime to settle or solidify, harming the engine. After you’ve changed the oil, run the engine for five minutes to circulate it, then fill your car up with fuel, add oil stabiliser and go for a ten minute drive. As well as giving you a nice break from the cleaning, driving ensures the fuel is mixed throughout the fuel system.
Long-term engine storage must-dos
Storing your car for more than a year? Drain all of the fuel from the fuel system and tank, then put fresh grease into all of the grease fittings to make sure they’re ready to go when you remove the car from storage. Next, spray silicon spray on the weather stripping, and lithium grease on the door and handle fittings, then finish off by draining the cooling and brake systems, filling the latter up with new braking fluid.
Protect the battery
Batteries are prone to degradation when left for extended periods of time, so make sure to charge it, then give it a good clean. Next, coat the battery terminals with petroleum jelly, top it off with distilled water and connect it to a trickle charger, storing it off the floor.
Put the car on stands
To prevent tyre degradation and suspension damage, place the car on jack stands placed on pieces of wood. The stands should touch the car’s suspension points.
Remove the tyres
Take off the car’s tyres and stack them somewhere safe, away from the elements. Within the stack of tyres, separate each tyre with a few layers of cardboard.
To stop insects and dust from entering the car, cover the exhaust and air inlets. To make sure you don’t forget you’ve plugged these holes, make a note or use colourful covers so you don’t unwittingly go for a drive and damage your engine.
Remove the roof
Got a soft-top? Remove it if you’re storing the car for more than six months, and ensure that every inch of it is dry before stowing it away from the elements.
Storing your car
Once you’ve taken the above steps, you need to store your car safely and securely.
Find the best storage spot
It’s common knowledge that the best places to store classic cars are dry, well-ventilated barns. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have barns to hand, so instead go with wood or brick garages, or a specialised storage facility such as those at Space Station.
Always avoid concrete storage areas that have been exposed to wet conditions through the year – when it gets cold, concrete can encourage moisture build up, which can harm classic cars.
Cover the car
Tarps won’t do your classic car any good, as they’ll trap water beneath them and promote rust. Instead, get a clean, breathable sheet, or a breathable, water-resistant cover if you have no option but to store it outside.
With the above steps, you should be able to keep your classic spic and span over winter. Struggling to find a place to store your car? Contact Space Station and find out about how we can help.