Graham Eason runs Great Escape Classic Car Hire, a UK self drive vintage and classic sports car rental company with cars based in Dorset, Suffolk, Yorkshire and Worcestershire.View all articles by graham eason
Classic cars are generally weekend and sunny day vehicles that can spend long periods of time stationery in garages or on driveways. Annual mileages can be low, but with sudden bursts of activity. So it is essential that classic car owners follow a careful storage regime to ensure that their classic is ready to use when needed, reliable and above all safe. My experience of hiring classic cars throughout the year has taught me a number of valuable tips that improve the reliability and safety of our cars. Although my cars are in regular almost daily use during the summer, they can be stored for long periods of time over the winter. So the lessons learned will hopefully be valuable to all classic car owners.
1. Keep the car in a dry, secure garage or workshop with good ventilation. This will minimise moisture build up and the risk of rust and damage to mechanicals and electricals
2. Use a battery trickle charger or disconnect the battery to avoid draining the battery
3. Leave the windows partly open to allow air to circulate and reduce the build up of dampness
4. Check the levels on a regular basis. Always store the car with the correct fluid levels
5. Start the car at least weekly and run to normal temperature, ideally including a short test drive
6. Ensure the radiator anti freeze and coolant mix is correct for your car to avoid the risk of internal corrosion
7. Increase tyres pressures to minimise flat spots or use one of the many flat spot minimising products on the market
8. Use a carcoon or similar dehumidification products
9. Store the car clean and use a car cover to reduce the build up of dust. Clean all wheelarches inside and sills to remove mud and dirt build up. Waxoyl or wax inject the bodywork
10. Test drive the car on a short run before embarking on a long journey - or get a garage to inspect the vehicle
My experiences running a classic car hire company have taught me valuable lessons about how to run and maintain classic cars. It is essential that my vehicles are ready, reliable and safe on demand so I follow the 10 steps outlined above when storing my own cars. Before the car is released onto the road we also follow an 18 step pre-hire assessment that covers fluid levels, electrics, instruments, tyre condition, general bodywork and chassis condition and a road test.