Best Classic Car Storage Tips For Winter - Muscle Car

Best Classic Car Storage Tips For Winter

Car Servicing & Restoration


Written by Elise

16th November 2020

Best Classic Car Storage Tips For Winter
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Best Classic Car Storage Tips For Winter

By Owen Pham

A vintage car’s exterior, interior, and mechanical health are what make it appealing to enthusiasts. Therefore, it’s natural and necessary for anyone who owns a classic car and enjoys driving it to seek the best ways to keep their vehicle properly. 

Although driving classic cars can be very pleasant, sometimes a classic car should not be driven for safety reasons. Knowing how to prepare classic cars for storage is one of the key things you can do as an owner to avoid a maximum of safety issues. 

Classic car storage can be short-term, long-term, or indefinite. Short-term vehicle storage usually takes up to three months, but instructions for its storage depend on which time of the year a classic car is not in use.

A few months ago, we listed tips to help you prepare your car for the summer. Now we’re heading for the colder months, it’s time to prep your car again. But before you type into Google ‘Classic car storage near me,’ here are some useful tips for owners who love for their classic cars but have limited time on their hands.

Side view of a red Austin Healey 3000 on the snow-covered compound in a monument

Classic Car Storage Options

For sure, winter is the worst time of the year to use and drive classic cars, as most are highly sensitive to moisture and low temperatures. Hence, many classic car owners tend not to use their vehicles during winter and attempt to save them from possible damages, making classic car storage crucial. 

The first solution that comes to mind is a garage, which could be either indoors or a cheap rental one. However, indoor garages can be very cluttered and a lot of cheap rental garages are located in insecure neighbourhoods. So, a better option for peace of mind and long-term car storage might be purpose-built, outdoor facilities with a secure reputation

In contrast to what you might think, secure car storage facilities can be budget-friendly. Moreover, they are run by professional staff and insured. Regular car storage cost around £120 a month. In case an owner needed extra TLC for their car, most vehicle storage companies offer monthly checks on the vehicles, including battery check and charging if required, tyre condition, or even a run-up to temperature for around £170.  

Three classic British sport convertible cars parked side by side in a garage

This service also includes dehumidified storage, which will send out any surplus moisture and stop it from collecting on the bodywork, mechanical components, or the interior. This will not dry it totally, as no-one wants cracked leather and split hoses. Furthermore, some storage companies offer car covers as part of the package.

Unsurprisingly, the service price goes higher as the level of care goes higher. But it helps to remember that your classic car is not an ordinary possession but a rare gem. To some people, it’s even a retirement plan, so it’s usually worth spending a little more to keep your classic car in good shape. 

Classic Car Winter Storage Tips

As mentioned above, there are dozens of vehicle storage companies across the UK, and all you need to do to find one near the place you live is to search online. However, if you are still looking for DIY tips on how to prepare your classic car for winter storage on your own as a temporary solution, follow these guidelines: 

  1. Wax and polish your car after a good wash. This will not only remove bird droppings and tree resin to prevent them from biting the paint, but it also will establish a protective layer and save the paint from scratches. It will also keep the body from corrosion.
  2. Treat chrome and aluminium parts like bumpers, door handles, wheels, and badges with acid-free Vaseline or with water-resistant silicone spray for similar protection.
  3. Clean the wheel arches and the framework of your classic car. Use a nozzle with normal pressure to wash dirt and sand away, then drive the car for around 30 miles to make sure the engine and exhaust are up to temperature, leaving no moisture at all.
  4. Add a fuel-stabilization fluid to the gas, then fill up the tank. In addition to extending the fuel’s usable life, it will protect the tank, fuel system, and engine from corrosion and rust. Drive your car for around 20 minutes to circulate the chemical-laden gas throughout the system and then fill up the tank again. A partly filled tank has a much higher risk of rust as it allows more room for moisture.
  5. Change the coolant so it can guarantee your car protection during the cold temperatures of the winter. If the weather goes too cold, you can also consider an engine block-heater.
  6. Don’t forget to change the oil and filter. It’s better to do it after the last time you drive your car in the season.
  7. Air up the tyres. Overinflated them by 2-5 psi to offset for air loss during the storage time.
  8. Lubricate door rubbers to let them remain flexible during the winter. Use Vaseline or silicone grease for this purpose. It would be better not to close the doors entirely and leave them a bit ajar so the rubbers are allowed to ventilate. This will also prevent them from sticking to the car.
  9. It’s better to store your car in a weatherproof structure on a concrete surface. Before parking your vehicle, sweep and wash the floor, then spread a large plastic sheet on it as an isolator, so it won’t let moisture come up the concrete at reach the underside of your car. 
  10. Use an A/C system to dehumidify the air. Remember, moisture is your classic car’s worst enemy, as it will effectively cause corrosion and rust to it.
  11. Don’t use handbrake since it leads to rusty brake pads on the brake disc. Instead, put the car in gear or use wheel chocks.
  12. Disconnect the battery, and preferably remove it from the car. Use a trickle charger to keep it in perfect condition during the winter.
  13. Plug the exhaust pipe and cover any other openings such as engine intake. Use wads of steel wool so no creatures gets inside. 
  14. Use a high-quality cover to put on your car. A perfect cover is soft inside and won’t scratch the paint, and is thick enough so it can protect the body from bumps. Never use a waterproof cover since the moisture will be trapped under it, and the paint will be damaged.

Side view of a yellow classic Ford Escort under the cover in front of a brick wall

To tick all the boxes, check your car every 2-4 weeks during winter and do the following:

  • Make sure no unwelcomed guests are in the interior, engine compartment, trunk, or under the vehicle.
  • Step on the brake and clutch pedals. This will help the pedals stay flexible and won’t let them get sticky. 
  • Start the engine and let it warm up until the oil temperature is hot to the touch. Remember to run it until the exhaust system is hot enough, so the moisture collected in the muffler and pipes exits.
  • Drive your car long enough to let the exhaust system completely dry out. You can even go further and drill a 1/32 inch hole in the lowest part of the muffler, so condensation drains out.
  • While driving, shift the gears up and down, so the whole transmission is lubricated.
  • Turn on the A/C to let the compressor seals lubricate. 

Don’t Store Your Classic Car in Winter, Restore It!

Navy blue Metallic 1965 Ford Mustang Coupe in a car gallery

All the tips and instruction given above on how to prepare your classic car for winter storage and the vehicle storage services near you in the UK is written with the assumption that your vehicle is in perfect condition and you want it to remain that way. 

But even a classic car that needs full bodywork is in need of sensible storage because while you can restore a classic car in poor condition, it’s always worth taking every precaution to avoid any further deterioration. But since the moisture and cold make the winter less than ideal to use and drive classic cars, why not spend the time getting started on that restoration you’ve been planning for ages? It’s not like the car’s going anywhere. 

Winter Promotion: Car Servicing at Muscle Car UK

Take advantage of MCUK’s winter promotion deal: book your car for any servicing in winter 2020-2021 to get 10% off. Booking it now means you can also beat COVID shortages; the last springtime was fraught with difficulty in sourcing and supplying the necessary muscle car parts, so the earlier you act, the better we can ensure your car receives everything it needs.

Muscle Car UK takes in classic cars for weeks at a time during restoration work, so the winter is a good time to have that bodywork or servicing done.

Author: Owen Pham

Muscle Car UK is the UK’s leading specialist Mustang and Muscle Car dealership. We import American muscle cars from the US, restore them here in the UK, and re-home them with our delighted customers. We also service any classic car.

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