Whether you've had your vehicle(s) tucked away in the garage during lockdown or used short term storage over the winter, these DIY tips will help you prepare your pride and joy for use in the coming months.
Getting a car back on the road doesn’t necessarily need to be an arduous task, these do-it-yourself jobs can be done at home in your garage or driveway and will help make sure your car’s in fine fettle ready for the spring weather. These tips are perfect for beginners, but serve as a handy reminder for all classic owners.
When a car’s stored for longer than a week, it's best practice not to leave the handbrake on - this helps avoid the brakes binding with the discs. Put the car in gear if it’s on a flat surface and if you’re worried about any movement, then a handy way to secure the car is to put chucks on it. To get your car out of storage, take it out of gear and put the handbrake back on.
If you’ve chosen to inflate your tyres or not, it's important to check your tyre pressures. You might choose to inflate your tyres to avoid ‘flat spots’, which are the part of the tyre in contact with the ground and can occur after long periods. If you don’t know what your tyre pressures should be then this information is commonly found in the door shut. Failing that, check your owner's manual or similar.
It’s important to make sure that the battery is as fully charged as possible before attempting to start the car. There is a fairly new piece of kit called a battery conditioner which is worth looking into. You leave your car plugged in at all times and this means that whenever you want to use the battery you are fully charged and ready to go.
Now that your car’s prepared safely and the tyres are topped up, it's time to put fresh fuel in. Always check the jerry can you’re using to transport fuel in from the petrol pumps to not contaminate the fuel tank. By putting fresh fuel in you’re ensuring that the car’s given the best start when turning the key and that the fuel lines aren’t clogged.
Now it’s time to turn your attention to any other fluids that you may have removed. It depends on personal preferences whether you drain things like brake fluid but it's not necessary for short term storage. Check the levels of each fluid, including a reading of oil.
To help your car’s carbs inject fuel into the engine, you can squirt a small amount down the inlet of the carb to help it start. A small dousing rather than smothering it with fuel will mean that it’s easier for your carbs to get to work pumping fuel to the engine. Always make sure that you have an extinguisher handy just in case you need it.
Before you start the car, ensure that if it’s inside a garage that the doors are open and there’s plenty of ventilation. Don’t be surprised if the car doesn’t start the first time you turn the key. Sometimes they can be stubborn but the worst thing you can do is put the starter motor under too much stress. The same can be said for flooding the engine with fuel, it's best to take it slow.
Once the car’s started, you’ll want to make sure that it warms up before using it on the road. Again, make sure you have ample ventilation if the car’s in a garage. Stay with your car until it’s up to temperature – oil and other fluids – it’s then time to test on the road.
Because your car’s been standing still for a while, you may have residue on the brake discs, so it’s really important to safely check the brakes before going any distance. Ensuring there isn't any traffic on the road, test the brakes from 30mph to a complete stop once or twice. If you’re happy with the performance then carry on. If not, return home and check the brakes over. It may be that you need to clean rusty residue off the discs or check the brake fluid.
Once your car’s out of storage, enjoy it! It's been a long time coming and the joys of driving freely in your classic will feel so much more sweet after the start of the year in lockdown. Just make sure that it’s cleaned before it’s put away again.
If you're a seasoned pro, do you have any more tips to share for getting your car out of storage? Let us know in the comments below!
The information contained in this blog post is based on sources that we believe are reliable and should be understood as general information only. It is not intended to be taken as advice with respect to any specific or individual situation and cannot be relied upon as such.