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Tips for storing a classic car.

First and foremost, imagine you are getting your Classic Car ready for a show. Preparation will avoid many a sore head when you take the car back out of storage.

  • Ensure that the boot is clean and dry, The boot seal is rarely perfect and some moisture can collect and condense in the inner wheel arches and floor. Air it out well for a day or so, then place a desiccant sac (you know the silicon gel packs you get in boxes with say, a power drill or a television) in here before closing it up.

  • Change the engine oil. Dirty oil is contaminated with acids and water that can cause premature bearing failure and rust inside the engine.

  • Make sure the Brake and Clutch master cylinders are full of brake fluid. Brake fluid can absorb water very quickly. By reducing the exposed surface area of the fluid, the water absorption can be reduced. If you can, bleed the brake and clutch systems.

  • Freezing temperatures naturally dictate that anti-freeze be used. But even if it's not freezing, put it in anyway. Many newer coolants have corrosion inhibitors that help protect and lubricate your cooling system. A 50/50 anti-freeze/water mix is fine. Make sure to run the car so it's mixed throughout the entire system.

  • Take the car for a good 30 minute drive. This will evaporate all the moisture in the exhaust and in the engine. Park the car with the hand brake off and either chock the wheels or leave it in gear if necessary. Over inflating the tires can help guard against flat spots. Disconnect the battery.

  • Wash the entire car and apply a good wax. Don't forget to clean the inside. Do this early in the day to give it plenty of time to thoroughly dry before putting it in storage.

  • To help prevent rust in the engine area, use a lubricant spray such as WD40 to coat all exposed metal surfaces. The volatile carrier in the WD40 will soon evaporate leaving a protective film on the hose clamps, coils, carb bodies etc.

  • If you have a convertible top, leave it up and the windows and vents closed. A convertible top can develop nasty creases when folded for long periods, especially in cold climates. Treat Vinyl tops with Silicone or similar. Keeping the windows and vents closed keeps small creatures from entering. But buy some desiccant sacs and place them inside the car on the floors. This will keep moisture from damaging the interior if it is damp or humid where you are.

  • Make sure your fuel tank is full. This will reduce the amount of water that can be absorbed by the gasoline and it also slows the rate at which it turns to varnish. Use and additive like "Sta-Bil", "Dry Gas" or similar. Make sure it's well mixed and run the car for a while to make sure it's in the entire fuel system.

  • If the car is likely to be left for a very long period of time unattended, remove the sparkplugs and liberally squirt some form of 'upper-cylinder lubricant' into the cylinders before replacing the plugs. This will help stop the piston rings from rusting to the cylinder walls.

  • The best thing to do for a stored car is to visit it once a month and take it for a short drive. This keeps everything in good shape, preventing things from getting corroded and seals drying out. At the very least have someone start it up periodically. If you are going to cover it use a proper Cloth car cover, not a Plastic one. If you find the concrete floor in your storage unit gets damp or 'sweats' use cat litter, or lay plastic beneath the car to prevent the condensation from reaching your floor pans.
 

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