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Surviving the season

With winter setting in, what are the best ways of preparing your classic pride and joy for the cold snap?

Winter can be hard on your car, what with the cold temperatures and roads opening new potholes with every shower, but with a little care there’s no reason why your classic can’t make it through unscathed.

Check the seals

Water is not something you want to find in your car, and the downpours of a bleak winter will expose any chinks in your car’s waterproofing armoury. Whereas it might be easy enough to dry the car out in the summer, it’s far harder to get rid of the damp in winter.

Check there are no damp patches around the door shuts and fix any issues as quickly as possible. It’s also well worth making sure all the drain plugs are free of debris such as mud and leaves.

Give it a wash

Coating a car with water in winter might sound counter-intuitive, but giving the bodywork a clean and a new coat of polish can make a massive difference. A thick coat of polish will protect the paintwork as well as making sure your motor looks smart and shiny.

Mud harbours damp, which in turn cultivates rot

Rust

The autumn is a great time to clean off your car’s underbody and give it a good coating of rust-proofing. Mud harbours damp, which in turn cultivates rot. To prevent rust, clean mud and grime off the car, then use a protective substance to keep it all well sealed.

Check the mechanicals

Obviously, it’s important that you keep your car topped up with anti-freeze, but there are other bits and bobs that need to be checked before winter sets in. If you have a heater, make sure it works, and ensure more mundane things such as lights and tyres will all need to be checked.

Consider hibernation

It might sound like throwing in the towel, but sometimes discretion is the better part of valour when it comes to running a classic, and that means knowing when to admit defeat and confine your car to the garage.

If you do choose to lay up your wheels, ensure your garage is free of damp and that any leaks in the roof have been fixed. Ideally, the car would be in a sealed tent with regulated humidity, but this isn’t always possible, so make sure the garage is ventilated properly to stop moisture building up.

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