If you are like us then you will want to be using your classic car as much as possible. Will you use it when the summer ends and the weather turns nasty?
There are many things to consider when making this choice so lets look at some of the main ones.
The winter is cold. That might sound obvious but Classic Cars do not have the same heating and ventilation as modern cars and driving with a misted up windscreen is not much fun I can tell you.
Winter also tends to be wet and old fashioned wipers might be “cute” as they slowly move across the windscreen but get stuck next to a passing truck and the spray is most defiantly not cute.
Then there is the damage. Lets look first at the damage to you mentally. You love your Classic and you love to keep her polished and looking her best. Every time you take her out in the wet cold winter chances are she will come back dirty.
Thats ok I hear you shout I will clean her. This gets very old very fast when its cold and raining and you have to go out and wash road salt off the underside of your car.
So what of that road salt? Well it will eat your Classic Car faster than termites eat a house. It is terrible stuff and gets in every nook and cranny under your pride and joy. If you are driving your old Classic Car in these conditions you simply must get underneath and rinse it off as often as possible.
The road salt is there because the roads are freezing and guess what? Classic Cars do not have anti lock brakes or stability control. All those things to keep you from joining with the car in front.
So does all this mean you have to tuck your car away wrapped in cotton wool all winter? For many yes but it doesn’t need to be that way.
Using a true classic car as a daily driver all year is going to be a tough ask. You will have more breakdowns and you will be cold and wet more often. It is possible if you make some adjustments to your driving and do some basic prep work.
Get your car ready for the winter. Modern cars just sail through bad weather so people have lost the habit of winterising their cars so here are 10 top tips.
Top 10 Tips For Running A Classic Car In The Winter
1) Check your tyres are good enough for ice, snow and rain. If they are looking worn change them. Also check the age of the tyre by looking up the date code on the outside of the tyre. The actual compound in the rubber degrades over time and although they might look fine they can be very dangerous. See Here For More.
2) Check your battery. If you have let it go flat a couple of times during the year then it might be time for a new one. Cold engines take much more effort to get going and a poor condition battery will leave you stranded somewhere.
3) Check your coolant. Simple job and in truth you should be flushing this once a year anyway. Make sure it has a 1:1 mix of water and antifreeze. Flushing is simple, undue the radiator cap then undue the bottom hose from the radiator and let it all drain out then simply refill with new stuff. See our Waterless Coolant Test here.
You might have a drain plug on your engine block so check your manual as this can hold quite a bit. Run the engine with the cap off and top up as necessary. You will see the level drop whilst it runs as the trapped air comes out of the system.
4) Check your wiper blades and washer jets. Wiper blades are easy and cheap to replace and you know when they need it as they leave big marks on your window. Also if you have had the car out in a hot summer the rubber will have become hard and you should change them.
5) Check your tyre pressures. These will drop as the temperature drops so if they are a little low now they will be very low on that cold winters night when you just need to get home.
6) If you are caught in the snow then clean the car well before you set off. Clean all the windows not just the front and back. Clean the headlights and brake lights and then clear all the rest of the snow off the car. If you leave snow on the roof bonnet or boot it will simply fly off and could cause someone else to have a bad day.
7) Check your washer bottle. You will use a lot of fluid in bad weather trying to keep your windscreen clear. Buy a good fluid that will not freeze and keep a spare bottle in the boot of your car.
8) Try and keep your petrol tank full. Running out of fuel on a cold winters night is no fun.
9) If you are forced to wait out a bad patch of rain or the road ahead is blocked and you have to wait then open your window a little bit. Older cars tend to have more exhaust leaks than modern cars and whilst driving the wind will clear it but sitting at tick over you could well be gassing yourself.
10) Now check yourself. Your driving style and skill is just as important as all the other checks. Take your time. Read the conditions and do not travel if it looks too bad.
If you are on a motorway and the rain is heavy then pull off for a coffee and give your 40 year old wipers a rest. Common sense is all that is needed and remember to pay attention.
There are many many things you can do like adding bags of sand over the rear axel or fitting snow chains but if the conditions are really that bad then it is probably a bit much for your old faithful classic car and you should simple stay home instead.
Have fun and drive safe.