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 ESSENTIAL WINTER CHECKS FOR YOUR CLASSIC CAR

PREPARING YOUR CLASSIC (OR NON CLASSIC) CAR FOR WINTER

The clocks went back a couple of weeks ago, and we are well into autumn.  In fact, it looks like we might be heading straight into winter, going by the snow many areas have already experienced!  Our Morris Minor, Triumph Herald and VW Camper are having a much needed rest and some TLC during this quiet period.  But we do like to use our classic cars ourselves through the winter months when we can, so some extra checks are needed.  We have put together a checklist of the main things we will be looking at, to make sure we are safe this winter.  It is well worth having a look at these tips for your own car, be it a classic car or modern.

  • De-icer/Scraper – There’s nothing worse than hopping in the car on a frosty morning and having to search for the scraper tool and de-icer spray.  Always have them handy in you car’s glove box.
  • Check your tyres (not forgetting the spare!) – It might be obvious but make sure your tyres are inflated correctly, just ask at your local garage.  Also, make sure your tyres have the minimum required tyre tread depth of 1.6mm,  A tread depth tool can be purchased from Halfords.  The figures for inflation and tyre tread can be found in your handbook or service manual.
  • Lights – Every so often, get somebody to check all your lights are working OK, and if you are setting off on a longer trip, have spare bulbs with you.  It is also a good idea to check the head lamp alignment – you don’t want to be dazzling oncoming traffic.
  • Wipers and washer fluid – Over time, wiper blades can perish and split, this will cause smearing on your windscreen,  so they should be replaced.  Also water jets can become blocked and out of line, these can be cleaned and realigned with a pin.  Finally, make sure the washer fluid is topped up and has the appropriate winter additive (available at garages and hardware stores).
  • Anti-Freeze – Add the correct strength anti-freeze to the cooling system of you car, making sure it is at the correct strength.  It is advisable to choose one that will go down to -25degrees C, to be sure it will be effective.  Hopefully temperatures won’t dip quite that low!   You can purchase an antifreeze tester at Halfords.
  • Fan belt/alternator belt – If the belt is cracked, split or the tension is slack, it is time to adjust it or get a new one.
  • Battery – Make sure the battery terminals are tight, and if necessary clean them and smear with petroleum jelly.  If you have an old style battery, make sure the electrolite is topped up with distilled water.
  • Heating – Check the heating and ventilation outputs are working correctly, and aren’t blocked with debris.
  • Emergency kit – Especially important when embarking on longer journeys, but make sure you at least have the following with you – jump leads, spare bulbs, basic tools.
  • Rear fog lamp – if your classic car doesn’t have one of these, and you like to do a few runs through the winter, it might be worth installing.
  • Salted roads – After driving your classic car on salted/gritted roads, it is essential that you hose off the bodywork and most importantly, the underside. If left, the salt can cause serious corrosion.

Most of the items needed for the safety checks are available at Halfords, or your local garage.

So there you have our recommendations on how to look after your car and stay safe this winter.  If you have anything to add, please let us know!