BY MIKE DYER, Research Director, Daniel Schmitt & Co.
With the fall temperatures slowly starting to drop here in the Central United States, driving season is coming to a close. Our staff will soon be placing many of their personal classics into hibernation for the cold winter months. If you find yourself in a similar climate and are thinking about giving your classic car a winter’s rest then following these tips will help to ensure that your vehicle will be ready for next driving season and could even save you some costly service bills once spring arrives!
Check Your Tire Pressure
While some enthusiasts will let their classic sit on jack stands during storage, many will remain sitting on the garage floor. If your classic will spend the winter sitting “on all fours” it is important to make sure that your tire pressure is adequate to a little higher than normal. This will help your tires retain their original shape and not deform from sitting stationary for an extended period of time.
Invest In a Good Fuel Stabilizer
While gasoline is refined differently throughout the globe, in the United States gasoline can start to decompose in as little as 45 days. With this in mind, investing in a fuel stabilizer will help to keep the gasoline in your tank fresh. Only add the recommended amount listed on the instructions. Running your engine for a few minutes after adding the stabilizer will ensure that your entire fuel system gets treated. It is also helpful to not have more than a couple gallons of gasoline in your tank while the vehicle is in storage. This way you can start the spring by topping off your classic with a tank of fresh fuel.
Check Your Engine Coolant
While Daniel Schmitt & Co. is known for always having variety of air-cooled Porsches in our inventory, most of the classics we sell utilize a traditional liquid cooling system. If your car has a radiator, you should take the time to test the antifreeze. These testers are relatively inexpensive, simple to use and are available at your local auto parts store. Confirming that your engine coolant is viable will keep the antifreeze in your cooling system from freezing and potentially causing damage to your vehicle. This is especially important if your vehicle will be stored in a non-climate controlled environment!
Invest in Battery Tender
Your vehicle’s battery is designed to be used, and when it sits for an extended period of time without being used it will eventually start to lose its charge. Disconnecting it and removing it from your vehicle will not ensure that your battery will stay charged. Investing in a good battery tender (not a battery charger) will keep your battery at the proper voltage while it is not being used. Many tenders do not use much electricity and just require a well ventilated place to sit. Make sure that to follow the instructions as outlined by the manufacturer. Special attention will be necessary if your battery is a gel battery as not all battery tenders are designed to be used with this type of battery. If you are running an Optima or a traditional automotive battery make sure that the tender you purchase is designed to work with your battery.