It’s that time of year again – Easter is around the corner, the evenings are getting lighter and spring is in the air.
And for owners of classic cars that means it’s high time to get ready for the summer.
Many owners put their pride and joy away into hibernation for the winter to preserve it and, while this is a good thing to do, it means that you need to be thorough with your checks before you get back on the road. Here we look at some basics to make sure your classic is ready to be enjoyed through the summer months.
If you’re still looking for your perfect classic, click here for tips on buying one.
Tyres, wheels and brakes
This trio makes up arguably the most important bits of your car. Your tyres, of course, are the only bit of your motor that is in contact with the road. When your car is left to stand for the winter, checking the tyres before using it again is incredibly important.
Check the pressures are correct first and then check for cracks in the tyre walls, along with anything in the tyres that shouldn’t be there – like stones or nails.
And, of course, check that the tread is legal – 1.6mm is the limit, but more than this is recommended.
Also check wheels themselves for any damage you might not have spotted before and check and tighten wheel nuts, as well as inspecting the general condition of wheels as regards rust and so on.
Check the brakes – make sure that pads/shoes have plenty of life left in them, make sure discs are in a good condition and make sure your brake fluid level is correct.
If there’s one thing that a lot of classic cars don’t like, it’s getting too hot. As much as summer is all about getting the top down (if you can) and enjoying the hopefully sunny weather, old cars can be somewhat temperamental when it comes to overheating.
Not blessed with the efficient tech of modern cars, it’s vital to make sure that the cooling system of your classic is in tip-top condition.
That means checking all parts of the system for leaks – the radiator, hoses and seals – as well as checking for any perishing in rubber pipes. Any leak could disrupt the whole system.
All levels should also be checked, as should fan belts, and the coolant should be replaced.
It might seem obvious, but if you’re bringing your car out for the season then it’s the ideal time to get it serviced, whether you do it yourself or take it to a garage.
At the very least this means changing the oil and oil filter, as well as other basics like air filters, spark plugs and timing. This will all help to make sure that you can enjoy trouble-free driving through the summer.
Once you’ve done the really important stuff that we’ve already covered, your car needs a general once-over. Wipers should be checked to make sure they’re in good condition, with no splits in the blades and no ‘scudding’ on the screen.
Check that all of your lights are working properly, along with the electrics generally to make sure that all switches do what they should.
Check the battery level. Many owners leave their battery on trickle charge over the winter, but make sure there’s plenty of power in your battery and that levels are correct.
Clean and wax
Once you’ve made sure that your classic is mechanically ready to go it’s time for the finishing touches. You’ll want your pride and joy to be looking at its best, so give it a proper wash and wax it bring it up to the best that it can be.
And then get behind the wheel and enjoy!