Most of us will chosen not to venture out so far this year, and no wonder with all the Spring’s weather surprises. But now it is time to get out there, with the promise of some great classic car driving weather.
But before you launch, spare a little time to go over your car and make sure that it is as ready as you are.
Here are our top tips:
- Have a look around – before you even open a door have a look for any sign of unwelcome winter visitors in your garage – signs of inhabitation may mean you’ll need to have a very through look at your cars more nibbleable parts.
- Then have a look under the car and in your drip trays. Anything unexpected there? If so try to work out what may have gone on before starting the engine.
- Tyres – you will have deliberately over-inflated these when you put the car away to minimise any flat spotting. Get them to the correct pressure, and if any seem to have dropped more than the others over winter, check the tyre and valve for leaks.
- Now open the bonnet. Everything still as you left it? What about fluid levels, all as you noted all that time ago?
- You’ll have had your trusty battery conditioner hooked up, so don’t forget to disconnect that before you think about going anywhere.
- If you have an oil pressure gauge you’ll know what you expect to see in the initial minutes after starting up. In older cars using heavier oil it can be good practice to remove the king lead from the distributer and, having secured the loose end, turn the engine over a few times to build up oil pressure and get the oil moving before reconnecting the lead and starting the engine.
- Brakes. When you start moving for the first time you may hear some dragging as the oxide that may have formed on the discs gets taken off by the pads. If this continues you may have a stuck calliper that needs attention. Test your brakes safely to make sure you’re pulling up in a straight line.
- Exercise care as you take to the road, letting brakes, gearbox and engine come to life slowly. Do a circuit and come back to base. Have a cup of tea, and have another check over for any leaks from loose or cracked hoses, and for the first few days keep an eye on the garage floor and your drip trays for anything unexpected.
Most importantly of all – enjoy the summer with your classic!