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How to Store Your Classic Car or Sports Car

Posted on July 14, 2017 – Classic Cars

Whether you buy classic cars as an investment or because you love them, you will want to make sure that you do everything possible to prolong their life and maintain their value. We have advised of the importance of thinking of where you will store your car before buying it, and this is all the more crucial for older cars which are more delicate. If you need to store it for a significant amount of time, a dry, sheltered storage place will be essential, as well as regular maintenance.

Here are tips to make sure that your vehicle roars back to life when needed!

Apply lubricant liberally

Leaving a car unused for a period of time can cause mechanical parts to seize, especially in the winter. It is therefore essential to prevent any problem by greasing anything that needs grease.

The last thing you want on the first day of spring when you are itching to take your car out for a spin is being locked out because the lock cylinders just won’t move. Lubricating them is easy. You can use graphite lock lubricant or Teflon spray straight into the cylinder, making your key play in it a few times to ensure that it is fully coated.

Lubricating latches and hinges is as important and it also prevents corrosion. After spraying lithium grease, open and close the doors, bonnet and trunk a few times to work the lubricant into the mechanisms.

Water is one of cars’ worst enemies, especially in notoriously damp winters. It can seep into the window tracks and damage the regulator cables when you try to open the window or freeze the rubber strips along the doors – and tear them if you force the door open. Unless you are willing to wait until your car thaws naturally before using it, coat the window tracks and the weather stripping with silicone or dry Teflon spray before winter.

Protect the battery

Batteries don’t do well with long periods of inactivity, especially during the winter, and they will eventually lose their charge if not in use.

You can protect your vehicle’s battery by removing it or you can purchase a battery maintainer. They are inexpensive and well worth the money. However, to work well, they have to be connected to clean battery terminals, so pick up a cloth.

First, you will have to disconnect the cables starting with the negative one, then clean the terminal posts with a battery cleaning tool, followed by the cable terminals. With a paper towel, wipe all grease and acid residue on the battery, then reconnect the battery, with the positive cable first. Last, apply a battery terminal protectant spray to reduce corrosion.

Check fluid levels

Before storing your car, change the oil and oil filter and let the engine run for a few minutes to ensure it circulates. This will protect it from corrosion while it is inactive.

Engine coolant not only prevents your engine from freezing and cracking but it also contains essential anti-corrosive additives. Checking the levels is good, but what really matters is to check the state of the additives themselves. To do this, your will need a digital multimeter. If it reads 0.4 volts or less, the coolant is in good condition; above that number, you need new coolant.

Ideally, you would drain the engine of all fuel, but as it is very difficult to do and can cause a lot of problems if not done properly, the next best thing is fuel stabiliser. All you need to do is fill the tank, pour in the recommended dose of stabiliser and drive the car for 15 minutes to ensure it gets mixed well.

Raise your vehicle

Flat-spotting on tyres will definitely occur if your car is stored for several months. It may go away when you drive it, or it may not. To avoid this problem, raise your vehicle so that its weight doesn’t rest on the tyres, but favour jack stands over blocks.

Keep the critters out

If you have imported your car into New Zealand, you will know that we have declared a ruthless war against critters. But if you thought that it stopped at Customs, you were wrong!

Nooks and crannies are perfect insect hotels. Dark and sheltered, all sorts of creatures will relish the chance to winter in your car’s pipes, including rats, so your aim is to seal any opening.

Sandwich bags filled with a steel wool pad will be perfect to block the tailpipe(s) – don’t forget to add something really bright and visible to them so that you don’t forget to remove them when you next use your car.

Rodents are particularly fond of vehicles’ heating systems, air filter boxes and exhaust systems. To thwart their plans, close the fresh air inlet by switching the heating mode to the recycle setting if you have one, then seal the air filter box intake duct – again steel wool pads in sandwich pads will do fine - and plug the exhaust system

Older cars may have specific openings that can be exploited by critters, so make sure you know where they are located on your car to protect it fully.

Cover with a breathable fabric

If you are storing your classic car indoors, a sheet will be sufficient to protect it, but if it is outdoors, or only partially sheltered, it is essential to use a breathable, waterproof cover, preferably custom fitted. If the fabric isn’t breathable, moisture will be trapped under the sheet, creating a perfect environment for rust. Also remember to cover the tyres to protect the rubber from UV rays.

As you see, most of the preparation you need to do on your car so that it comes back to life well a few months later is nothing too technical, and you can do most of it yourself.

If you have already found your dream car and need to have it shipped to New Zealand, contact us on +64 9 303 0075 or via our form for a free quote.

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