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The Motorists Guide

Waking your Classic from it's Winter snooze!

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Now is the time of year to consider rolling back the covers on your classic car and preparing it to go back on the road in the Spring.
Do you know what to check for after your car has been in storage for the Winter ?
Here are some hints and tips to check everything on the car is safe and ready to drive:

Tyres - correct pressures & no cracking on the tread or sidewalls.
Fluids - all fluids are within tolerance for content (antifreeze, moisture in brake fluid, etc)
Belts - drivebelts have not perished and have correct tension.
Wiper Blades - have not perished, split or hardened over time.
Brakes - not binding and any surface corrosion is cleaned off components.
Battery - ensuring it has enough energy and has not sulphated over the Winter.

If in doubt, it may be worth getting the car checked over by a professional mechanic to make sure everything is fine after its long rest.

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The best thing is really not to take it off the road.

Tyres don't like standing in the same spot for a long time, batteries like to stay charged, a regular trickle is always good. Handbrakes can seize in the on position or even the off position. You can look at you upholstery one day and it's a fine couple of weeks later it's mouldy.

Brake fluid I would flush and refill before storage so I know its moisture free. Friction material can absorb moisture that's why shoes can stick to drums and pad can leave a rust print on discs that can cause a judder which may not scrub off

Coolant, if you know it's a good 50/50 mix with a quality product leave it in. Draining is ok but most cars you can't get it all out so you are left with air on both sides of the water pump gland/ seal which could dry it out. Just a thought.

Belt pulleys that have exposed shiny mental surfaces can corrode but will polish up when run but are abrasive to the belt. If you run an engine during V O R winter remember it needs to reach temperature, that means oil as well as coolant. Just revving it for a few mins will not do the job, it will create an environment for more condensation in the block and head, condensation is moisture and moisture creates acidic conditions for corrosion.

So the cost of putting to bed for the winter or keeping it going is a tricky one. Do you have a nice garage or is it kept under cover, is it an old A 35 or a 50s Alfa. Not to mention a 70s Lancia Beta. I said not to mention the 70s Lancia Beta. It's always difficult to say what is best for each car but the one thing that is common to all cars is preventative maintenance. It is better to ensure a joint is lubricated and rust proofed than to have to free off a seized joint in the Spring.

Good luck to all.

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