If you have a classic car in good shape, you definitely want to keep your car in that condition. Classic cars are much more sensitive to rust, therefore it is important to avoid driving them in autumn and winter seasons when the weather can be a lot worse than in spring and summer seasons. Low temperatures, rain and snow are not good for an older car, so it’s best to store your classic inside a closed area such as a garage or caravan parking where it will be protected from the elements for a few months to wait for better weather. Our expert has shared a few tips to help you prepare your car for winter storage and ultimately save your classic in the winter season.
- Wash and polish
Washing and polishing a car is important for two reasons.: it will clean your car and will give the paint a protective layer. Start by washing your car with a normal car shampoo to remove all filth so you can polish your car without scratching it. Bird droppings and tree resin will bite into the paint if left on your car, so it’s best to clean it before storing your vehicle for the winter.
- Aluminium and chrome
Aluminium and chrome parts such as bumpers, door handles and wheels can oxidise as well. Treat chrome with acid-free Vaseline or with water-resistant silicone spray to give it a protective layer. Do this with aluminium wheels as well if your classic has them. Despite any protective paint layer, small scratches can easily erode and ruin your wheels.
- Wheel arches and undercarriage
Make sure you clean the wheel arches and the undercarriage of the car as well. Spray dirt and sand away with a normal nozzle. Do not use a high pressure hose because the water pressure can affect the protective layer and water can even penetrate into wheel bearings and steering joints. After cleaning your car, make sure you dry it or even better, drive the car until it’s dry. Take your time for that trip because a trip of 50 kilometres ensures that the engine and exhaust are up to temperature, leaving no remaining moisture. Moreover, the battery will be fully loaded as well. After this trip you can safely store your car in the garage for the winter.
- Doors and rubbers
Lubricate door rubbers with Vaseline or silicon grease so they stay flexible during the winter. It’s best not to close the doors completely, but rather to leave them slightly ajar, allowing the rubbers to breathe. The door not being completely closed provides ventilation and, more important, prevents door rubbers from sticking to the car. Do the same with the trunk and open your windows a bit, so the car is ventilated and make sure the barn or garage where your car is stored is ventilated as well.
- Brake system and clutch
During winter, while your car is in storage, step on the brake and clutch pedals every now and then to help them stay flexible and avoid sticking. Do not use the handbrake, but instead put it in gear. Otherwise the brake pads will rust on the brake disc.
- Cooling system
The cooling fluid in your car offers protection up to a temperature of -25°C. The cleaning and preservation abilities of the fluid will decrease over time, therefore it is recommended to change the coolant every three years. Change it before you store your car for the winter to make sure protection in low temperatures is ensured.
- Fuel tank
All metal exposed air can rust; this goes for the fuel tanks as well. Make sure you fill up your car before storing it so your fuel tank is protected against rust.
After a season of fun driving your classic car, there will be certain kinds of filth in the engine oil that can cause rust in the engine. Engine oil should be changed at least once a year for good lubrication. It is highly recommended to change the oil before you store your car for the winter season. You can do it after the last drive of the season, when the oil is warm enough to change.
It is preferable to remove the battery from the car when your beauty is safely stored in a cool, dry place, but disconnecting the battery is ok as well. You can keep the battery in perfect condition by charging it during winter with a trickle charger. After charging the battery fully, let it discharge some before charging it again.
When you pick up your car on the first sunny day in spring, you don’t want to drive off with wobbly tyres. Because the car has been standing for a few months in one position, it’s likely the tyres have lost some air. So make sure you pump up them up at a minimum pressure of 3 bar when you store the car. You can also put your car on axle stands which is better for the wheel bearings as well because it take off the pressure. Moving your car a bit regularly is also an option.
With these tips, you can store your classic safely and keep it in top condition during the winter season. If you’re still looking for a classic, take a look at our Hayman Classic cars to find a selection of some of the best classics, cult classic and other great icons on the market. If you prefer to sell your classic rather than storing it this winter, that’s also an option.