It might sound like we’re stating the obvious but during the winter months the temperature drops. Unfortunately, this can have a big effect on your car, particularly if it’s a classic.
Even when the weather is slightly milder, you can suffer from battery problems and be more prone to rust damage because of the wetter conditions.
Most people have their car serviced at the same time they take their MOT, usually once a year. Unless you drive long distances, you might not think that having a pre-winter service is a great idea.
Here are just some of the things you’ll be up against during the period between November and the end of February and why a quick service can make a big difference.
The drop in temperature can particularly affect your car when you try to start it up in the morning. The trouble is that cold weather helps deplete the battery and reduces its output by as much as 35%. If it’s very cold this can be a lot more, as much as 60% in some cases.
A lot will depend on the age of the battery too. Older ones will certainly tend to deplete quicker overnight. It’s important to check the manufacturer’s warranty on the battery you have and how often you should change it. If it’s near the end of its useful life and you’re having trouble starting in the mornings then it’s well worth changing.
If you want to make sure that your battery doesn’t die in your older car, starting the engine and running it for a while can help or make sure you go for a longish drive rather than leaving it parked up for days.
Cold weather can also affect things like engine oil. It becomes thicker and that can make your classic car harder to start especially during a cold snap. Another important thing to check is the coolant level. This is designed to prevent freezing and ensure that your engine operates at optimal efficiency. Be very wary if you have added normal water to the coolant to top it up as an emergency measure – make sure you change it as quickly as you can during cold weather as it might freeze and cause damage to your car.
Severe temperature drops can also cause ice on the road especially at night and in the early morning. It’s important to check your tyres regularly and to change them where the tread might be compromised. Keeping your tyres properly inflated is also important. At the same time, you might want to check that your brakes are working properly.
The cold winter months can cause a few other issues. Your windscreen wipers might get frozen up the rubber damaged making them less efficient, even to the point where they need replacing. Mud and dirt can reduce areas like headlamps and brake lights so you are less visible.
Having a service during the winter months can make sure that your car is in prime condition and should help you spot any issues that are likely to turn into major problems. You also get complete peace of mind that your vehicle is ready to cope with any road conditions the weather might throw at you.
Another change that happens during the winter is that there is normally more salt on the roads. This comes from gritters that go out at night and spread salt to prevent the build-up of ice. The problem is that this can cause corrosion in cars, especially classics. Giving your vehicle a regular clean, including the underside is one way to reduce the risk of this. It’s important, however, to catch problems such as rust early on so a quick check during a service can definitely help.
If you live near the coast, the salty roads can be exacerbated by the salt from the sea. During poor weather, spray can be driven quite a distance inland which can get into metal and cause rusting.
You can do many of these checks yourself during the winter months and it’s always worth taking a few minutes each week to give your classic car the once over. Doing so can help spot minor issues that may quickly grow into big problems.
The team at White’s Bodyworks have a reputation for providing amazing restoration and repair services for classic car owners. What people don’t often realise is that we also offer regular servicing that can help keep your vintage vehicle in the best condition, especially during the winter months.
A quick service can certainly prevent a lot of different problems when it comes to classic cars. Want to find out more? Contact our expert team today to see how we can help.