While some classics are used all year round, some owners prefer to take their pride and joy off the road during the winter months. Storage preparation is crucial, and if not done with careful planning, can end up costing more than just an oil and filter service.
1. CLEAN, DRY AND WRAP IT. Removing any dirt, residue and making sure the car is dry is one of the most important factors to consider when storing any car. Typically, unless your storage solution is de-humidified, ventilated and climate-controlled, the car will be exposed to the elements regardless of being under a roof. Any dirt or wet material on the car can cause rust, the barn-find kind, so best to put the hours in now to save any big bills or needing to use a welder.
2. TANK IT. Tank your classic with premium fuel and add an additive. While this subject is constantly quibbled between leaving a car with an empty tank versus a full one, it comes down to chemistry. Brimming your tank with fuel before you store it will mean that there is less air to contaminate the fuel and thus adding condensation and water. Fuel lines and your fuel tank will thank you for not having moisture (water) in there as well as adding a fuel additive.
3. SORN IT. SORN stands for Statutory Off Road Notice. If you’re thinking of laying your car up for winter, this can save you paying road tax while it’s not on the road. Simple to do and valid indefinately, you can SORN your car online via the DVLA website. Just make sure you re-tax the car be-fore you take it out on the road again or you could face a £2,500 penalty.
4. VENTILATE IT. Once you’ve spent the effort setting your car up in the perfect winter hibernation mode, you should consider that ventilation is one of the most commonly overlooked stages of storage. As the winter months draw in and the temperature decreases, the chances of your classic de-veloping rust scars and perished rubber hoses, for example, rise considerably. Ventilation doesn’t just mean the air inside the garage or lock-up, but also a cover for the car. Consider keeping your car in a well-ventilated indoor cover to protect it from dust and the elements. If you’re tight on budget, any breathable material will be better than nothing, even a dust sheet from your local hardware shop.
5. LUBRICATE IT. Making sure that all your car’s parts are treated and lubricated before short-term storage can prevent perishing. Treating all rubber seals around windows, doors and tops with silicone can help prevent cracking and aging, while hinges on doors should also be given attention.
6. CHOCK IT. When storing any car for longer than a week, release the handbrake and use chocks. When a handbrake is engaged for long periods of time it causes the brake drum and shoes to stick together, a costly solution to fix when you come to move the car in the spring. Instead, put chocks up against each wheel to ensure that the car doesn’t roll away while it’s laid up for winter, rather than using a handbrake. A cheaper alternative to chocks is cutting up some sturdy wood blocks in a triangle.
7. DON’T START IT. If you store your car properly, you shouldn’t need to start it. But if you do need to, remember to put any parts back on that you removed, like a battery, re-engage the handbrake and fully remove the car cover if you’ve used one. Open the garage door before you start your classic car and once it’s started, make sure It’s warmed up to the right temperature to get the fluids circulated and warm.
8. SERVICE IT. Before spring comes, book an oil and filter service in with the mechanic or at home. Changing the oil is one way of ensuring that you clean out the pipes leaving your classic fresh and ready to go for eight more months of happy motoring.