After a year in which many of the usual excuses (should an excuse ever be needed) to enjoy our classics have been denied us, even some of the most regularly enjoyed classic cars have found themselves unusually dormant this year. With the prospect of some time off on the horizon for many, and with some outdoor events scheduled to take place in the New Year, more than a few classics will likely be brought out of the garage for some mid-winter cobweb-blowing, so here are Footman James’s top tips for winter motoring.
Keep your battery conditioned
Cold starts, and the use of heaters, headlights and heated rear windows will all put a much larger strain than normal on your car’s battery. As the temperature drops, so does your battery’s capacity and a freezing morning can see it drop by up to 50%. To combat this and to avoid the need for jump leads wherever possible, investing in a battery conditioner will pay dividends in the long run. A world away from the trickle chargers of old, a modern unit will keep your battery cells in top condition, maintain a full charge and also shut themselves down safely should anything go wrong.
Tyres, Tyres, Tyres
Older tyres, with age-hardened rubber will be far more apparent on cold wet roads than they would be on warm dry summer roads. While you may not want to go all-out and buy some cold-weather tyres for your classic, if your summer tyres are approaching 10 years old, or beginning to lack tread, now would be a good time to change them for new ones. For those that may have deliberately over inflated their tyres before storing the car earlier in the year (a good tip to help avoid flat spots) remember to deflate them back to a regular pressure before you drive off, or risk bad handling and a loss of grip.
Don’t run cold
For most of us, keeping our classic car running well in hot temperatures is a consideration we are all used to, but for those not as regularly driving in the colder months, the opposite can be just as true. Some classics with large radiators and wide grilles can often struggle to reach their operating temperatures in colder conditions. To avoid unnecessary engine wear, higher emissions from driving on a full or partial choke, or even just the chill of driving without a heater blowing hot enough, consider fitting a radiator muff. For cars prone to the problem, such as series Land Rovers, or classic MG models, these are often available to buy off the shelf, but if your classic is not covered for these, then often some trimmed cardboard and some cable ties will do a great job at allowing your car to reach the right temperature, whatever the mercury may read.
Lastly, if you declared your car as SORN earlier in the year, or changed your Footman James policy to laid-up cover, don’t forget to update the DVLA, and update your insurance cover before you head out to enjoy the open roads. Will you be heading anywhere in your classic this winter? Let us know where 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.