Classic Car - Morris Minor 1971 - shined and ready for the Easter Vintage Festival

Preparing Your Classic Car For Winter

Classic Car Hibernation

The classic car show season for 2019 is coming to a close. And, sad to say, those long sunny driving days are fewer and evenings drawing in.

You may not want to use your vintage vehicle as the weather worsens. A classic car can be a huge investment of time, money and love. So it’s good to have a plan to care for your vehicle when it’s not being used on a daily or weekly basis.

Having said that, we would never recommend leaving your classic vehicle to stagnate all winter. Grab those rare bright, clear, cold sunny days and go for a spin. A good run of about 20 or so miles will get the engine properly warmed up, get rid of any condensation in the engine, exhaust, even from the underside of the body work. You’ll also get a good day out!

Vehicle Maintenance at the End of the Classic Car Season

So, what should you do to keep your classic car in tip top condition for the winter period? At the very least we recommend these five steps:

  1. Change the oil
  2. Check the antifreeze
  3. Grease all the grease points
  4. Check and maintain the battery
  5. Give it a good clean and polish!

Change the Oil

An oil change will get rid of any contaminants that have built up over the spring and summer seasons. Contaminants such as acids in the oil can attack the engine components. This will cause corrosion damage to the engine which could result in bigger issues come next spring.

Duckhams Classic Motor Oil at VFR Motor Services, Leicester
Prices shown here include VAT.

We recommend buying a good quality branded oil of the correct grade for your vehicle. Cheaper oils may not have all the protective additives to help preserve the engine of a classic or vintage vehicle.

We stock Duckhams Classic motor oil because it’s a great quality lubricant and contains the correct ZDDP (Zinc) level optimised for use in vintage engines.

Check the Antifreeze

For fairly obvious reasons, you’ll need to have sufficient antifreeze concentration to provide engine protection for those frosty nights and mornings. Making sure the antifreeze levels in your engine will help protect the vehicle.

Most modern cars use the yellow type of antifreeze whereas classic cars favour blue antifreeze. You’ll need to check the manufacturers recommendation to make sure you’re using the right antifreeze for your vehicle.

If you’re using blue antifreeze in your engine, this will need to be completely flushed out and changed every two years. The anti-corrosion inhibitors in blue antifreeze only last for two years. Although it will still protect your vehicle from frost, it will not protect against corrosion in the cooling system of your engine.

Grease All the Grease Points

This isn’t totally essential for winter preparation. However, while you’re giving your classic or vintage vehicle some TLC, you might as well do this while you’re about it.

All vintage vehicles need regular greasing for maximum longevity of the suspension components. Without sufficient grease the vehicle’s suspension will work with metal on metal and quickly wear down.

With this job done, your car will be ready straight out of the garage for the new season in the spring.

Battery Check

If you have no power in your lock up or garage, it’s a good idea to take out or disconnect battery over winter. Leaving the battery connected but unused for a long period of time will cause it to lose it’s charge. It may also cause permanent damage and failure meaning you’ll then have the expense of buying and fitting a replacement.

If you do have power where your car is stored over the winter months, give the battery a charge once a month. Or better still, a modern battery conditioner can be left connected all winter.

A modern battery conditioner monitors the charge level in the battery and will automatically cut out when it reaches maximum charge. These gadgets are great for hibernating classic cars and other vehicles which are used infrequently. We use CTEK battery conditioners for our own classic vehicles and in the garage too. But look around, there are many more excellent battery conditioners available on the market.

For more information about caring for your car’s battery, read our Car Battery Basics blog post.

Clean and Polish Your Car

Last but by no means least, don’t put your precious classic car away dirty! Any mud, grease or grime sitting on the paintwork could cause damage such as degrading paintwork or even rust if it’s left to sit.

A good pressure wash of the under-body will remove any road grime. Pay special attention to the wheel arch lips, around headlights, light fittings, and any other nooks and crannies where dirt might sit. Dirt in these crevices can rot the car from the inside out so keep them clean.

If you’re doing this yourself you may wish to get togged up in your wet weather gear!

When you’re done, a good polish wouldn’t go amiss to keep the paintwork and bodywork in tip top condition. Plus it will look amazing.

Full Classic Car Winter Preparation

If you’re short of time or just not confident to prepare your classic car for its winter hibernation, we can do all of the above in the garage. Giving you complete confidence that you’re classic car is in tip top condition for its winter hibernation.

Call today for a quote and we will be happy to book you in.

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