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Dublin: 16°C Sunday 20 June 2021

Own an elderly car? Here's how to prepare it for winter

We bring you top tips from a classic owner.

THIS WEEK, JASON from Gentleman Classics gives us his advice for preparing your car for the colder months – whether you are putting it in storage or taking it out for a spin.

While we at Gentleman Classics are firm believers in using our classics throughout the winter, we understand that it’s not always practical. There are a few events over the winter season that encourage the classics to come out (we will be having our annual Christmas spin in December) but most people choose to keep them tucked away until springtime.

However, you need to be careful when taking a classic out of service for the harsh winter weather months – as it can be as harmful to the car as simply using it.

Source: Gentleman Classics

Firstly, in advance of storage, give the car a really good wash – including underneath – and let the car dry thoroughly. Then, wax the car as if you were planning to bring it to a show, treating all surfaces to a thorough coating. Not only is this a preventative measure, it also makes the joy of taking it out of storage all the better.

If you have leather on the seats, door cards or steering wheel, give it a decent treatment and if you have a wooden steering wheel – wipe it with a drop of linseed oil.

There are some products available online that draw moisture from the air when placed inside the car – these are handy and effective and a cheap way to avoid any fungus growing if any damp collects when stored. Leave the air heater vents open.

Source: Gentleman Classics

Make sure the battery is charged completely and invest in a trickle charger to keep it topped up. Coat the battery terminals in Vaseline petroleum jelly. If you are storing the car for more than four months, remove the battery from the car altogether.

Inflate the tyres to just shy of 50psi in order to avoid any flat-spotting.

Make sure the car has the correct mixture of coolant in the water system and if possible give the car’s engine a service – changing the oil and filters.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a garage to store a classic but if you are, make sure that there is air circulating in that storage space. A dehumidifier is a great help to avoid a build-up of moisture in a space that fluctuates in temperature.

Ideally, starting the vehicle once a month helps to move the oil around the engine and gearbox and prevents sticking tappets or compressed valve springs becoming permanently shortened.

Source: Gentleman Classics

Using the clutch and selecting all the gears can be done safely with the handbrake on, just feel the ‘bite’ to avoid the clutch plate sticking to the flywheel.

Depending on whether the car is stored inside or outside, invest in a quality cover. While the good exterior ones are expensive – they really are worth it and give great peace of mind.

As always, if you do decide to use the car over the winter months, make sure you’ve checked all of the lights are working, the wiper blades have been replaced and the tyres are in excellent condition. A good quality battery will not just ensure a car starts easily, it will also help the car to run better, especially when lights, heater and wipers are on so don’t go for the cheap option here.

Source: Gentleman Classics

I’ll be driving my Porsche 912 and my Fiat 124 Spider over the winter, as I have been for the last twenty years or so. If you see me give me a wave. I’ll likely be wearing more layers than the average driver and frantically rubbing the condensation filled windscreen on a regular basis but then, that’s because I love classics, regardless of the weather.

Follow Gentleman Classics on Twitter: @gentlemancars

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