It is, for some of us, getting to be that time of year when we think about Spring, long drive with our favorite car, and car shows. But, before you head out it would benefit you and your classic if you would take a few minutes to do a checkup on the car. This will not only help the car run better, but could keep you off the side of the road.
We think one of the best car insurance policies is a sound fuel system. This means examining every hose, line and fitting from the fuel filler to the tank and carburetor. Depending on how long the car has been stored, stale fuel can also be an issue. It has a much different smell from fresh fuel, and if it’s really stagnant, we pump the tank out and start with fresh fuel.
Check the radiator hoses, along with smaller ancillary hoses for catch tanks and the heater core, for overall integrity. “For a spring start-up, we always check the coolant level, age and condition,” advises Wittwer. “We normally change the coolant every two years or if it is contaminated and has turned a rusty color.”
Bringing tire air pressure up to spec is obvious, but also take the opportunity to examine tire wear. Uneven wear can indicate an alignment problem that needs correcting. “On a car with knock-off wheels, make sure the knock-offs are correctly tightened,” notes Scott Young, a longtime vintage-car owner in California. “Particularly if you haven’t driven the car in a long time, it’s also important to do a nut-and-bolt check.
Next to fuel systems, there’s probably nothing on an old car as prone to failure as a hydraulic clutch or brakes. You should make a point to work the brakes several times over the winter to keep the pistons free. Before hitting the road again, bleed the brake lines. Changing to synthetic fluid also will help reduce future moisture-related damage.
Check fluid levels in the engine, transmission and differential. If oil has leaked during storage, replace the offending seals–you’ll keep both your car and the road cleaner. It’s a good idea to crank the engine a couple of times during the winter, to keep the pistons from settling in one position where the cylinders could develop rust rings.
Keeping your battery on a battery tender over winter can dramatically increase its useful life. A good idea is to store the battery in a place away from the car. Before reinstalling it, clean the posts with baking soda and water.
Remember, by taking care of some simple maintenance issues, you can keep your care rolling better, your blood pressure down, and really enjoy the day.
By John L. Stein – AutoWeek