Ahhhh, love. It makes us feel alive, remember that puppy dog moment when you and your partner first locked eyes, feeling cupids arrow striking you and imaging that lady and the tramp meatball scene. That is love.
But love can strike you in many ways and for many of our members, it's the love of a classic car which sets deep into their heart. A love unrivalled you may say, a true love. From the first time you laid eyes on the beauty in a car magazine, on the television or even sitting in your own drive, waiting for it to be passed onto you.
But with any love, it needs plenty of time, appreciation, and TLC. So below we have jotted down a few tips to help you maintain your love with your favourite classic car, we promise it's not as daunting as some may think, it just requires a bit of attention to detail and a few hours alone with each other every other weekend.
As with any relationship, the love between you and your classic car needs to be built on time and patience, yes, the car may not be as reliable as your everyday run around and it may have a slight impact on your finances, however, in return, you get a charismatic motor which you can have a great driving experience with.
So, if you are looking for a new love or looking for tips on helping that relationship between you and your classic car to blossom, you are in the right place!
Hibernation & Storage
It's not just the grizzly bears who do it, classic cars are best kept in hibernation in the cold, wet wintery months, doing this will keep away the corrosion and preserve its performance longevity.
If you do take it out on a crisp sunny winter’s day, please be aware of gritted roads, with around two million tonnes of salt and grit spread on the UK’s roads each year, the salt can not only chip away at your valuable paint work, but the little pieces of grit can also cause aggressive rusting to a car's underside, working its way through the chassis, suspension components, etc. Laying on a protective wax over the paintwork or to stop water and salt damaging the underside of your car, try products such as Waxoyl
To keep the car warm and cosy in the winter, its best to pop your loved one in a garage with a protective cotton cover (this type of material will not damage the paint work of your car). The protective cover will also prevent condensation and to take extra measures, you may also run a dehumidifier where the car is kept during the winter months to keep the R word (rust) away.
It’s also common to drain the fuel and make sure the oil is fresh and not contaminated. However, if you can’t resist a drive on those bright winter days make sure you top up the fuel and pump up those tyres. Over time your tyres will naturally flatten, so it's always a good tip to keep an eye on the tread and how well inflated the tyres are, for the safety of you, your car, and your pocket.
Regarding what cover to use, we suggest a bespoke cover for your model and make, to ensure your beauty is nice and snug and protected to the max. A side note when covering your car up for the winter is to disconnect the battery, the last thing you want is for the battery to be losing power whilst stagnant, which will then result in you breaking down on a drive out.
When spring arrives and the days get milder, we recommend to then service your classic car. From checking spark plugs to windscreen wipers, ensure your beauty is in tip top condition and ready for the months ahead. But before you do that, ensure you charge the juice back up on your baby’s batteries. Being still for majority of the time can leave your classic car a bit flat, so you have a few options on how to keep the car charged up. You can either use a conditioning charger, which will help keep your battery in tip top condition and can be safely left plugged in as it maintains the battery. Or you could remove the battery and put it on charge, but make sure the charger is suitable for the type of battery you have. Certain batteries will not respond well to being left charging on an unregulated charger. Any one of these techniques will have your classic car purring and ready for the road ahead.
Maintenance and Parts
Just like any love or relationship, it requires continuous affection and maintenance, paying notice to the attention to detail to ensure that everything on your car is looking and feeling great.
Checking the fluid regularly is key to improve your classic cars functions and to ensure it maintains its longevity. The 7 fluids to check are:
• Fuel – Ensure you are tanked up and ready for the journey. Having too little can ruin your car, so try and keep a 5L jerry can nearby.
• Engine oil - Without it, a combustion engine would not be possible. Responsible for lubricating parts that rev thousands of times per minute. Ensure you check your dipstick when the engine is cold.
• Anti-freeze (please ensure the anti-freeze can last at lower/minus temperatures for when winter comes) - Responsible for absorbing the heat and then dissipating it. Vital to keep your car temperatures level.
• Power Steering Fluid (some of your older loves aren’t equipped with this unfortunately) - But, if you’re lucky to have it, then check the dipstick and ensure the fluid level is between the maximum and minimum line.
• Brake fluid - Crucial if you want to stop. Please ensure if you do buy brake fluid, it is specific to your make or model, whether Dot 5.1, 4, 3, etc.
• Transmission fluid - If your vehicle has a dipstick for the transmission, you can check it much in the same way you would your oil. If not, either change the fluid regularly or take it to a specialist and let them have a look. Typically, a healthy colour should be a glossy red.
• Windscreen wash - To keep your windscreen shiny and in spick-and-span condition, get yourself a decent windscreen wash for a streak-free windscreen.
When owning a classic car, protection is key, wax or underseal are your best friends. Ensure that even the smallest parts in your car are lubricated well after winter and before spring, to prevent wear and to maintain an overall good driving performance.
Parts can be tricky, especially if you own a rare classic car. Be patient and talk to those who are specialist in your car brand. If you cannot find a garage who specialises in your car make and model in your own country, join a Facebook group or club tailored to your make and model, this way you can make contact and friends who may share the same problem as you and are able to assist in finding the right parts.
Insurance and Tax
The love of your life needs protection, unfortunately a car cover will not do on this occasion. Intangible protection is needed to keep your beauty safe throughout all the seasons and thankfully it can be as cheap as chips. For starters, if your vehicle is registered before 1st January 1981, then you are exempt from Vehicle Execise Duty (VED)
Your classic car insurance premium
will depend on the car you are driving and how often you are on the road, as well as your age, the areas you live in and your driving and claims history. Often, classic car insurance works out cheaper than standard car insurance.
So why so cheap you may ask? It is because insurance companies believe those who have a classic car are more responsible, these drivers know how to look after their vehicle and tend to be more experienced and safer drivers.
We hope you enjoyed reading our blog today and wish you the best of luck if you are looking to invest in a classic car and to those who already own a beauty of their own, keep showering it with love and the rest will fall into place.
Happy Valentine's Day all,