As the weather warms up and summer approaches, classic car owners everywhere are eager to hit the road and enjoy the open air in their vintage vehicles. There are plenty of meets organised up and down the country as we get into Spring and many people will be looking forward to getting onto those winding roads and revving those engines.
But before you start planning your summer road trips, it’s important to make sure that your classic car is in good shape and ready for the warmer weather ahead.
At Whites Bodyworks, we’ve got several decades of experience in helping to service, repair and restore a huge range of different vintage vehicles. You can see the amazing cars and motorbikes that we’ve worked on over the years in our portfolio section.
Whether you’re planning a holiday or fixing to hit the road for the London to Brighton Classic Sports Car Run, here’s some expert advice on getting your classic car ready for summer from our amazing team.
Inspect Your Classic Car
Many people put their classic cars away for the winter, mainly to shield them from the elements. When spring comes, it’s important to inspect your classic car thoroughly if it’s been sitting idly waiting for warmer climes. A thorough checkup should help identify any issues that need to be addressed before they turn into bigger problems on the road.
Here are some key areas to check:
- Brakes: Check your brakes to ensure they’re working properly and aren’t worn down. This is especially important for classic cars that may have drum brakes, which require more maintenance than the modern disc variety.
- Tyres: Make sure your tyres have sufficient tread and aren’t cracked or dry-rotted. Check the tire pressure and make sure it’s at the recommended level. Use the 20p test to check the tread.
- Fluids: Check your oil, coolant, brake fluid, and other fluids to ensure they’re at the proper levels. Top off or replace fluids as needed.
- Electrical system: Check your battery, spark plugs, and other electrical components to find out if they’re still working properly. This should stave off the potential for breakdowns on the road.
- Suspension: Check your suspension components to make sure they’re in good condition and aren’t worn down. This will certainly help improve handling and prevent problems with your steering.
If you’re a classic car enthusiast, you may want to do all this yourself and there’s nothing you like more than tinkering around and checking everything is okay. If you’re less certain and car mechanics isn’t your thing, putting in your car for a check and service is the best idea.
Perform Routine Maintenance
In addition to inspecting your classic car, it’s important to perform routine maintenance before your summer driving starts in earnest. This will reduce the risk of breakdowns and keep your car running smoothly all season long, hopefully. Again, these are tasks you can perform yourself or get a garage to do for you.
- Oil change: Make sure to change your oil and filter, especially if your car has been sitting in the garage under a cover. A quick oil change will certainly improve engine performance and prevent wear and tear.
- Tune-up: Consider getting a tune-up so that your engine is running at its best. This can include replacing spark plugs, adjusting timing, and checking the carburettor. While it can be a little expensive if you get it done at a garage, it’s well worth it if you want to maintain your car well and enjoy those summer drives in perfect comfort.
- Filters: Replace your air filter and fuel filter. This means that your engine is getting clean air and fuel and it can help improve performance and that all-important fuel efficiency.
- Belts and hoses: Check your belts and hoses for signs of wear and replace them if needed. This should prevent issues such as overheating and other problems.
Protect Your Car from the Elements
The summer weather can be harsh on classic cars, especially those with original paint and upholstery. To protect your car from the elements and preserve its value and appearance, consider taking the following steps:
- Car cover: Invest in a high-quality car cover to protect your classic car from sun, rain, and dust when it’s parked. This can help prevent fading and other damage to your paint and upholstery.
- UV-resistant coating: Consider applying a UV-resistant coating to your car’s paint to protect it from sun damage. This can help prevent fading and keep your car looking great all season long.
- Wax: Apply a coat of wax to your car’s exterior to protect the paint and add a layer of shine. This can also help repel water and prevent rust.
Classic car owners who live by the coast can find a few more problems when it comes to protecting their vehicles from the element. The higher level of salt in the air can cause issues such as rusting over time which is why it’s always a good idea to inspect the bodywork quite regularly.
Buying a Classic Car This Spring? Here Are Our Top Tips
- Research the make and model: Before you start looking at classic cars, learn all you can about the make and model you’re interested in. Understand common issues, maintenance requirements as well as the availability of replacement parts. A good way to do this is to join forums or clubs dedicated to the car to gather knowledge from other enthusiasts – they’re always happy to help.
- Inspect the vehicle’s history: Request documentation on the car’s history, such as maintenance records, previous owners, and accident reports. A thorough background check should mean you avoid costly surprises down the road.
- Check for rust and corrosion: Inspect the body and chassis for signs of rust, which can be a significant issue in classic cars. Pay particular attention to the undercarriage, wheel arches, door sills, and trunk area, as these are areas susceptible to rust.
- Examine the bodywork and paint: Look for evidence of prior accidents or bodywork damage such as uneven panel gaps, mismatched paint, or signs of filler. While wear and tear are expected in a classic car, extensive damage or poor-quality repairs will affect its value and longevity.
- Inspect the engine: Check the engine for leaks, odd noises, or excessive smoke. Look at the transmission, differential, and driveshaft for signs of wear or damage. Test drive the car to evaluate the performance and handling.
- Review the electrical system: Ensure that all electrical components, such as lights, indicators, and gauges, are functioning correctly. Older cars may have outdated wiring, which can be a fire hazard or cause other issues.
- Assess the interior and upholstery: Check the condition of the seats, carpets, headliner, and dashboard. Worn or damaged upholstery can be expensive to repair or replace in older models and it can eventually impact the car’s value.
- Evaluate the suspension and brakes: During your test drive, pay attention to the car’s handling – worn suspension components may lead to a rough ride and poor performance. Test the brakes for proper function and even wear.
- Verify the availability of parts: Some classic cars have scarce or expensive replacement parts, which can make maintenance and repairs costly. It’s important to research the availability and pricing of parts before you commit to a purchase even if the car is in good condition.
- Seek professional advice: If you’re not confident in your ability to assess a classic car, consider hiring a qualified mechanic or appraiser with experience in classic cars. Their expertise can help you make an informed decision and avoid potential pitfalls.
If you’re buying a classic car at the end of winter, make sure you find out whether it has been kept under cover during the colder months and do a proper check of all the bodywork. What looks great on the surface doesn’t always look so marvellous when you get down to the details.
White’s Bodyworks: Expert Classic Car Maintenance and Repair
At White’s Bodyworks in West Sussex, we understand the importance of keeping your classic car in top condition for summer driving. Our team of skilled technicians has over 25 years of experience in classic car maintenance, repairs, and restorations, and we’re passionate about helping our clients get the most out of their vintage vehicles.
From routine maintenance tasks like oil changes and tune-ups to more complex repairs like engine work and bodywork, we have the knowledge and expertise to handle all of your classic car needs. We use only the highest quality materials and parts and take great care to ensure that every aspect of your car’s maintenance or repair is carried out with the precision and attention to detail it deserves.
In addition to our maintenance and repair services, we also offer custom bodywork and full restoration services for classic cars. Whether you’re looking to restore a vintage car to its former glory or you simply want it fit and ready for the summer ahead, we’re here to help.