As we find ourselves hopefully at the end of another lockdown, the classic car enthusiasts amongst you might be itching to take your pride and joy out for a decent spin, whilst looking ahead to the appropriate care needed over the winter months. It’s a beautiful time of year for longer Sunday drives, or cheeky mid-week spins… through our beautiful countryside in technicolour autumn, or nipping down to the coast for a hot cuppa near the sea.
With the colder months just around the corner, it’s about striking a good balance between moderate consumption and proper storage. A bit like a vintage single malt. You might be preserving your seasoned model inside for longer periods and airing it out less, but that does not mean neglect – it’s just as important to look after it in the correct way during the winter.
Here are a few tips to keep your antique auto in the pink…
Keep it clean
Start the clean at the top of the car, work down and don’t forget the underside or the interior. Ensure you use the correct cleaning agents. Dish soap can be harsh and will make the paint look dull. Shelve out a bit more on professional carwash soaps which are thick and foamy and will leave your classic looking fabulous. Rinse with free flowing water then dry with a soft leather chamois or a soft microfiber towel, changing towels often for a lovely shiny finish. Brake discs also need to be dry. as leaving them damp can cause the pads to stick to the disc and lock, so take her out for a short run after washing. She’s worth it.
5 star accommodation
Ok so you don’t need a palace to park it in, but treat your prized possession to a space fit for purpose. We always recommend storing your vehicle in a locked garage or dedicated car storage facility during the winter months. The space should be well ventilated to avoid damp and you might want to consider using an inflatable storage device for added protection, or a breathable car cover with a soft lining. If you choose to use a dehumidifier, be aware – if it’s too high it will draw the moisture out of everything around it, including veneer dashboards and anything made of vinyl or soft plastic.
Get your motor runnin’
It’s been snowing/hailing/sleeting/raining; probably all of the above, for days… your cabin fever has maxed out. You need to get out for the sake of your mental health (and your partner’s) A clear, glorious, crisp, winter morning finally arrives and you simply have to take your classic for a cruise. If so, she will need a bit of before and after care. Salt and grit on the road is her enemy as it causes corrosion. A decent wax will help protect the paintwork but treating the underside professionally with a powder coating or quality waxoil will help protect the metal, and when you’re home, again, hose the underside down. You wouldn’t neglect yourself in the shower now would you, so give your car the same attention! Avoid clutch and brake seizures and keep mechanics lubricated by treating yourself and your vehicle to that much needed spin… simply idling the car without driving it may speed up corrosion issues, as the engine will likely not reach full operating temperature.
Awareness of your car’s battery is key, depending on it’s age. If a battery is not disconnected there is a possible risk that it could be discharged in a short amount of time, ending in battery destruction. A trickle-charger can keep the battery in good shape and is essential on more modern classics. Problems can occur with fuel injection systems and on-board computers if the battery goes flat and on older classics, it’s sensible to undo and remove the battery clamps during periods of storage.
Keeping insurance in place means your car is covered even when parked up. It might be tempting to think about cancelling your classic car insurance policy if your vehicle will not be in use during the winter, but remember, fire, flood damage and theft remain potential issues. Not forgetting that glorious winter day we mentioned, when you just have to hit the open road.
Some of the benefits you enjoy with our policies at AIB include:
Dedicated claims handling team who will discuss repair options
Agreed value at no extra charge (subject to evidence)
Salvage retention option to customer following total loss
Cherished plate covered
Cover for public road rallies and trials, treasure hunts, road safety and non-competitive rallies
Discounts for Multi vehicle owners and coverage for classic vehicle collections
Some insurers provide up to 90 days European use per trip
Cover for dismantled parts
Stand-alone breakdown cover available
Discount for storage, garaging and limiting the mileage