Top Tips: How to store your classic car for winter?
If you store your classic during the winter months, don't just drive it into the garage and expect everything to be fine the following spring, follow these tips:
1.) Without use the battery will go flat and suffer long-term damage. Ideally, remove it from the vehicle, invest in a trickle charger and keep it topped up. Alternatively, disconnect the battery from the car. It will drain, but at a slower rate.
2.) When a car is left standing for a long period of time, tyres can flat spot and deteriorate if they are left underinflated. You can either remove the wheels and put your vehicle on blocks, or leave the wheels on, over-inflate the tyres, check them regularly and roll the car occasionally to prevent flats forming.
3.) Don't leave the handbrake on while your cherished car is in storage - use chocks instead. This will help stop the brakes seizing. Of course, they can still seize (especially older drum brakes).
If this happens, jack up the car, remove the wheel and gently tap the brake drum with a mallet until the drum can be easily turned by hand. If the car pulls to once side on your test drive, then a wheel cylinder (drum) or disc may have seized.
4.) You might think that's it's best to store your classic car with minimal fuel on board. However, an empty fuel tank can develop condensation which can lead to rust. As a general garage safety tip, it's also a sensible precaution to keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
5.) It might be worth investing in a dehumidifier for your garage. Condensation can build up which can encourage rust and the formation of mould. A dehumidifier removes moisture in the air. You might also want to consider buying a 'bubble' storage system which creates a ventilated environment around your car.
6.) Check on your car every few weeks. The tyres might have deflated or there could be a leak. Also, pump the brake and clutch pedals to make sure the mechanisms are free and easy, and try the handbrake, gearbox and steering.
Avoid firing up the engine every few weeks because this can do more damage than good because the engine oil will not get up to temperature, though there is some debate over this issue.
7.) If you take your classic out for a winter run, it's best to do it in the dry because there's likely to be salt on the roads which is highly corrosive if left. When you get home, wash your car thoroughly, including the underside, and dry it properly.
8.) When you decide to get your car back on the road, it’s best to get your classic car serviced. And even if your car is MOT exempt, you can still opt to have it tested for peace of mind.