If you own a classic car, there’s no greater joy than taking it for a ride on a bright, sunny day. The purr of the engine, the looks you get from passing motorists and the simple appreciation of all of your hard restoration work coming to fruition are too much to ignore when you have a free afternoon. But the cold seasons inevitably come around, and the last thing you want is for your classic car to ever see damage because of snow, sleet, sand and salt. At some point it’s going to have to be stored away, and it might not move from that spot for months at a time. The problem is, improper storage techniques can damage your ride just as certainly as kicked up stones on the highway. Here are five classic car storage safety tips to make sure your precious vehicle stays in tip top shape.
First of all, make sure you clean and wax the finish before storing the car away. If winter is approaching this becomes crucial. Corrosion due to moisture is bad enough, but when the moist air falls below freezing you’re basically guaranteed rust. Take your time with this, and make sure you completely remove any dirt or road tar hanging out on the finish. This is also your chance to touch up any potential chips in the paint. After a solid cleaning and wax job your classic car will be fully prepared to wait out the season.
Next, make sure you double check the internal systems. Of particular interest is fuel, coolant and oil. The gas sitting in your fuel system will actually break down if it isn’t used on a regular basis. So make sure you add a fuel stabilizer to keep this from happening. And store the vehicle with a full tank, so there’s no room for air to gather, condense and lead to rust creation. Coolant in the radiator should also be appropriately managed. Use the proper coolant at the right mix and you’ll avoid icing over the winter. Finally, double check that the oil is properly filled. You’ll change out the filter once you’re ready to break the car out again.
You’ve done all of the major work, so don’t forget about those tiny creatures that can cause big damage. Chances are pests will make their way into wherever you are storing your classic car. The last thing you want is to see rats and mice making a home of your ride. So set up traps around the vehicle, to convince them to stick to their business. With the right precautions you’ll avoid finding a furry friend living in your vent system.
Once the car is set up where it will hang out for the foreseeable future, unhook the battery. Set the battery up on a piece of wood, and connect it to a trickle charger. Otherwise it could die when you return to your vehicle. This also gives you the chance to clean the battery fully, to make sure corrosion issues don’t spread.
Finally, cover your vehicle up as completely as possible. Classic car storage is all about extreme preparation. You may go overboard, but it will always be worth it. Spend the extra bit of cash to get a car cover that’s breathable. That way moisture trapped underneath won’t hang out and increase corrosion. You might even want to look around for a car jacket, which seals up much like a camping sleeping bag. You drive the car onto one side, wrap it around and zip up the other side. This should provide complete peace of mind.