Getting Your Classic Ready For Summer

May 19, 2021

Getting Your Classic Ready For Summer

The sun is shining, temperatures are rising and your pride and joy is calling your name. But before you do, it’s wise to make a few checks first…

If your classic is old enough to not need road tax and/or an MOT then it’s more important than ever to make these checks before heading out.

Is the fluid level up to scratch? And if not, why not? You may often find a wheel cylinder has developed leaky seals and you’ll find your missing fluid inside the brake drum and on the inner face of the wheel.

Cars with disc brakes have some problems too. Pistons can easily seize up, especially if the car was put away damp. As a rule of thumb, you should be able to roll the car by hand. If you can’t – you’ve got problems.

Another MOT fail or dangerous fault is corroded brake pipes. Make sure to have these checked before going out on any long summer drives.

Brake fluid can absorb water over time, plus, if it’s been in the system for more than few years its ability to help you stop quickly and safely will be reduced. Luckily, draining and refilling is a simple job for your local garage.

Crucial for avoiding and extended stay on the hard shoulder is coolant. Check that there’s enough in the system and that your anti-freeze is at the correct concentration.

Hoses can corrode while you’re not looking and then let go the first time the temperature rises.

An obvious one, but oil is often needed the last time you stored your classic for the winter and easily forgotten between then and now.

If your car has been in a freezing cold garage all winter it may be significantly down on voltage, or maybe even not working. Make sure to give it a full charge and check the voltage a few days later to get an idea of how well it holds its charge. Although the battery is nominally 12 volts, anything below 12.5 indicates it’s not holding sufficient charge.

If you’re classic has wire wheels it’s worth checking them for safety. They should ring when being tapped with a piece of wood – a dull sound means a loose spoke but may well be sorted out after use so drive a few miles gently and try the check again.

It’s the most basic check but still worth mentioning… check the lights all work, especially the indicators and brake lights.

Check the sidewalls for crazing and bulges but check the pressures too before driving off. Often tyres which hold air perfectly during daily use will deflate over six months of inactivity in the garage.