If you have a collector car, a little time invested today will pay off when spring cruising weather returns, allowing you to spend just a little more time than it takes to pull the cover and bring it back to life with a twist of the key.
Take care of deferred maintenance now
If you have a carbureted old car that is seldom driven, there may be additional combustion byproducts and fuel vapors in the crankcase, which can settle in the pan over winter, potentially rusting the pan and corroding internal engine parts. So give it a fresh oil change with your favorite oil. It’s not needed nor desirable to start the vehicle and move it if it’s going to be stored only a few months, as it’s unlikely you will get it up to proper operating temperature during that time, which can create corrosion-causing water vapor throughout the engine and exhaust system.
Check the condition of your brake fluid
Brake fluid, although it operates in a closed system, absorbs moisture over time. If it’s been a few years, consider changing the fluid, especially if it’s discolored and not a light amber or clear color. Dip strips are also available to check the presence of copper in the fluid, which indicates some corrosion has already occurred and the fluid needs to be changed.
Antifreeze/coolant should be checked for more than freeze point
If your pride and joy is parked in the Bay area, cracking an engine block is likely not at the top of your worries for your collector car. But antifreeze/coolant should still be checked for proper strength to protect against corrosion, which can be a particular concern with dissimilar metals in a collector car, such as aluminum radiators, a cast iron block and water pump, and a steel impeller in the water pump. A leaky radiator’s joints will often be the first victim.
Don’t forget about the fuel in your tank and the little bare metal parts
Many hot rod and collector car shops recommend storing a vehicle with only ethanol-free fuel, and adding a fuel stabilizer, such as from Startron or Sta-Bil. And wipe down any bare metal parts with a product such as WD-40 or NAPA Wet Graphite Film Lubricant to protect them from rusting.
Maintain your battery
Nothing ruins a bright spring day quite like hearing the dreaded rapid “click, click, click” of a near-dead battery. The best way to avoid this is to connect a battery “maintainer,” which is a slow, low-amperage battery charger designed to stay connected. (Regular battery chargers, even trickle chargers, can quickly overcharge a battery.) Now keep in mind that if you have a newer technology AGM or gel battery, a maintainer designed for that technology is recommended for the best performance and longest life.
If you follow these tips, the drive you’ve been eagerly awaiting to take when that first beautiful spring weekend comes will likely be a trouble-free task.
About Peninsula Auto Body
We live and work within the San Francisco Peninsula area. Our commitment to the community extends from helping our customers to helping our team members and right into the community itself. At Peninsula Auto Body, we are neighbors helping neighbors, especially after an automotive accident. From towing to filing claims to making sure you have transportation while we fix your vehicle, as your neighbor, we’ll help take care of you. We’re here in your time of need. If you have questions or comments, please contact us calling us at 650.588.0999. or visiting our webpage.