Owning a classic is a dream come true for many automobile enthusiasts – and classic owners know that keeping your car properly maintained takes time, effort and care. There are all sorts of things that can damage your classic car, from rust to mildew, and there’s nothing more heart-breaking than seeing your treasured possession deteriorate. If you want your car to last a lifetime, be aware of these risks and take steps to minimise the damage.
5 THINGS THAT COULD DAMAGE YOUR CLASSIC CAR
Without proper protection, the weather can be the nemesis of the classic car. Leaving your vehicle exposed to the rain promotes rust which it will feed on and damage your car, whilst too much sun can cause the paintwork to fade or even blister. If you’re not already keeping your car in a garage, or you need to park it elsewhere on tour or holiday, investing in a proper cover can protect it.
Some owners will pick up a dehumidifier for the garage, to protect their car from mould, rust and other damage. A cheap alternative – though we’re not vouching for its comparative efficacy – is placing a few open containers of baking soda inside the car to absorb moisture.
Road salt might be essential for keeping icy, wet roads safe for drivers, but It can be a killer to unprotected steel parts such as your suspension or exhaust. Salt when it comes into contact with steel can create a chemical reaction which accelerates rust, and badly damage your classic.
If you do take your classic car out in the winter, be sure to clean it thoroughly after every drive to make sure salt isn’t left eating away at the underside.
LACK OF USE
A classic car isn’t likely to be your everyday vehicle and as the winter closes in, you may well be putting it away ‘til the spring. However, long periods of keeping your vehicle in storage can actually have a detrimental effect on the car. Batteries can run flat, engine parts can corrode, and undetected problems can cause all manner of issues.
There are a few approaches you can take. Some owners will disconnect the battery to preserve its charge. Alternatively, running the car for 10 minutes or so every few weeks just to recharge it is an option – but it’s not advisable to run it in the garage, where moisture will simply build up in the engine and exhaust. Much better is to take it out for a short drive and let it run properly. Just make sure your insurance and MOT are still valid.
Although you might not think about household pests posing a risk to your car, vermin such as rats and mice can cause a huge amount of damage – particularly if it’s stored away in a garage that might not be entirely pest-proof. Not only can they chew through important wiring and tear up the upholstery, they could even end up treating your car like a nest and breeding! Be sure to check on your car whilst it’s in storage, and stuff a rag in the exhaust to prevent any animals sneaking in through the pipe.
LACK OF CLEANING
Dirt promotes deterioration over time. so before you pack your classic away for the winter, give it a thorough clean, making sure you rinse all products off and dry it thoroughly before putting it in the garage. A clean car is less likely to suffer cosmetic deterioration, and this also gives you a chance to take stock of any little areas of damage that may need attention. Apply lubricant to any rust spots, check the fluid levels, and make sure your coolant is winter-ready so it can’t freeze when left standing.
Of course, you may be choosing to run your classic through the winter too, in which case we recommend checking out our guide to winter car care.
CAN WE HELP YOU?
Make sure you have the right cover for your classic, and don’t forget, if you’re taking it off the road you can switch your policy to SORN/Laid Up cover. Give us a call on 0121 248 9229, or send us a message below if you need a quote.