Listen to This Post
Owning a classic car can be an investment, but for most car collectors it’s the realization of a dream. Most classic car owners have gone through an extensive search to find that one specific vehicle that fulfills that dream. And for many finding the vehicle is only step one. Restorations and customization can easily cost more then the actual vehicle did, and far too often more then it’s even worth once it’s completed. With this in mind, it’s crucial to protect that prized possession once it’s parked in your garage. After all, you’ve been dreaming of this car for many years, so you want to be able to enjoy it even longer.
One of the most common ways that classic car owners fail to protect their collectible car is by not properly storing them when they are not in use. Nothing is more damaging to an older vehicle then sitting for long periods of time, especially when the proper precautions have not been taken. It is especially crucial for seasons with extreme weather (i.e., summer and winter) that your classic car be stored and prepared appropriately.
The first thing you’ll want to do is clean everything. While this is probably not what you were imagining when you were dreaming of your classic car, it’s essential to protect that perfect condition. Now if you are an avid collector with a show only kind of ride, then this will be a no-brainer. But for those classic car collectors who take their dream out for a spin whenever they can, this is going to be more than your average car wash. It’s especially important to perform a thorough detail of the entire vehicle when storing for any length of time. This means getting all of those hard to reach areas underneath. Dirt and grime will hold moisture and over time can speed up or even cause the dirtiest 4 letter word in any classic car lovers vocabulary RUST.
Now that you have it clean, its time to think about the mechanical parts of your dream car. You’ll want to be sure that before storing your car away for an extended period of time, to change the oil and filter and run the engine to circulate the new oil. Fresh oil will aid in the prevention of corrosion, so it’s important to follow this up periodically. You’ll want to make sure that you start it up (you know you want to anyway) and get her juices flowing on a regular schedule. It’s crucial that you circulate the fluids not only to prevent internal corrosion but also to avoid leaks. Getting fluid to all of those seals and gaskets will keep them from dry rotting and cracking. You will also want to add some fuel stabilizer to your gas. This will prevent gum and varnish buildup which can ruin your fuel pump or clog up your filter and carburetor.
Next, you will want to protect the tires. Put your floor jack to use and jack up the vehicle, then set it on jack stands. Once you have the car up in the air your going to want to lower the air pressure in all of the tires. This process will prevent the tires from developing a “flat-spot” while in storage. I know, this car is your pride and joy and the last thing you’re going for is the car on up on blocks look. But this can save you from buying a new set of tires when you pull it back out of storage. Some tires can come back from a flat-spot if they were only sitting for a few months, but if left for a half a year, the spot can become permanent.
Don’t forget the battery in that classic car. If left sitting with no preparation the battery will drain and if left too long will need to be replaced. Thankfully this is an easy one to remedy. Pick up a battery maintainer at your local auto parts store. There are many great ones on the market, and they will ensure your battery is kept at peak levels.
Remember that a classic car is not like a new one. They require regular attention, even when they’re not being used. Glady though, a little work now will ensure that you can enjoy that beautiful classic for years to come.