Classic vehicle hibernation tips

Winter has arrived, and the time has come to stow away your cherished classic until the beginning of next season. Here are a few useful tips to ensure it is stored safely…

1- Wash the car thoroughly inside and out, over and under. Pay special attention to door and boot jambs. Use a silicone based spray on all the door profiles to avoid them getting sticky. Vacuum and dust the interior as well, so it is spick and span. Take it for a last spin, noting any unusual noise or vibration. Ask for advice if you are unsure of the cause, otherwise locate the source and sort it out before laying her up to sleep.

2- If you can, park your pride and joy in a dry and well ventilated area, preferably level. Never engage the parking brake, as the brake shoes will stick after a while. Just leave it in 1st gear, and chock the wheels. Leave the windows ajar for some air circulation to happen. It is also a good idea to over-inflate the tyres slightly, to avoid cracks and flat spots to appear. 0.5 Bar on top of the usual pressure is good enough.

3- Once it has found its sleeping spot for the winter, check all the fluids and top them up if necessary. It is also a good idea to disconnect the battery and hook it up to a trickle charger. If you don’t have one, I can provide it for you. A good quality device usually costs around 100€, and should serve you for a lifetime. Another good thing to do is to lay a tray under the car, catching any fluid that might leak.

4- The worst way to use a car (or bike)… is not to use it. They are intricate machines with lots of moving parts, and having them stopped for too long usually makes them stick, crack or break. It is a great idea to visit your sleeping beauty at least once a month. This enables you to monitor any loss of fluids and find a remedy, check that all the tyres are kept well inflated, ensure that no animals have joined in for a nap (rodents, cats, spiders, your neighbor’s dog, goats, dragons,…).

If the weather is dry, take it for a spin until all the fluids have attained their normal operating temperature, keeping a close eye on the oil pressure and water temperature gauges. This will lubricate all moving parts, such as the engine, gearbox and final drive, wheel bearings, shock absorbers, steering rack and brakes. Instead of listening to the radio while you do this, listen to what your car has to say. Is it purring like it usually does? Any strange noise that wasn’t there before? Make sure all is well before heading back to its hibernation spot. If you have a doubt, let me know.

5- Give your car a kiss and a pat on the bonnet once you have tucked it in, until the next monitoring visit.



If you prefer, I can provide a tailor-made hibernation monitoring service. This comprises all of the above and much more in an all-inclusive package, so you don’t have to worry at all about any problems hindering the integrity of your ride. Call 0486/549.826 for more detailed information. Special attention is advised for cars with CIS injection systems (K-Jetronic), as they are extremely sensitive to lack of use.


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