For classic car enthusiasts, the smooth chassis, fine rims, wide-eyed headlights and sleek leather dashboards of their old-fashioned motors mean a heck of a lot. While we'd love to drive them 24/7, sometimes old autos need to be stored away, and if this is the case, then there are a number of things that need doing to make sure that we're not presented with a heap of scrap when the time comes to fire the engine back up.
Pre-storage car care
There are a number of things you should take care of before you say goodbye to your car for a long period of time.
Fresh and clean
Make sure that the car is clean, inside and out. Then, change the oil and oil filter, and make sure the oil is circulated by running the engine for five minutes or so. Then, make sure the tank is full and add oil stabiliser before going for a ten minute drive. This will ensure the fuel is mixed and spread evenly through the fuel system.
If you're leaving the car for a long period or want to keep your car super safe, drain all fuel from the fuel tank and system, put fresh grease into all of the grease fittings, spray silicone spray on the weather stripping and spray lithium grease on the door and handle fittings. You could also drain the cooling and brake systems, and fill up the latter with new fluid.
Save the battery
To remove the need to buy a new one later on, take the battery out of the car, wash it down with water and baking soda, top it off with distilled water, connect it to a battery maintainer and then store it somewhere off of the floor.
Stand it up
Using jack stands placed on pieces of wood, touching the suspension points, raise the car upwards off the floor. Remove the tires and separate the stack with layers of cardboard.
Plug any holes
Make sure to cover the exhaust and air inlets to ensure that no pests find their way into your automobile – the more colourful the covers, the better, as you'll need to remember to remove them when you bring the car out of hibernation.
If your car has a fabric soft-top roof, then consider removing this if you're leaving the car in storage for more than six months. Otherwise, ensure it's completely dry before stowing it away.
Cover it up
Forget tarps – older motors will end up rusting underneath them. Instead, if your car is resting inside, any clean sheet will do when it comes to cover it up. Alternatively, if you choose to put it outside, you'll need to pay for a breathable, water-resistant cover.
Where to put it
After you've done all the leg work, it's time to put your car to bed, but where is best?
Well, as a general rule of thumb, dry, cool and airy spaces are the best places to store classic cars, as humid and wet areas will degrade the components and encourage rust. Concrete also tends to get wet during the winter months, so try and avoid this as well.
When you do want to fire up the engine again and take your pride and joy out on the roads, make sure your insurance is up to date with a specialist classic car insurer, such as Carole Nash.