Summer months are often great for your collector vehicle by way of local drives, parades, and shows. But depending on your location, your wheels may need a hibernation during off seasons like winter—and if so, one that calls for thoughtful decisions and attention to detail (from moisture checks to battery charges). Berkley One Classics Branch Team Leader, Shelley Fey, notes how proper care benefits the driving experience.
“Collector cars are special, and they’re rare—so it only makes sense that you would want to maintain their quality as best you can. Extended maintenance can help preserve the value of the vehicle, and help it appreciate in value over time.”
Below, Fey shares tips for readying your car for winter, helping to ensure it’s in tip-top shape come spring (and far beyond).
Start with a clean car – Before you put your car into storage, it’s a good idea to wipe down the windshield and entire exterior. Not only does this step ensure your car is ready to cruise come warmer months, but it helps its long-term value as well. “Cleaning your car before any kind of long-term storage helps in preserving the paint and overall quality,” says Fey.
Consider your storage space – When it comes to the storage itself, Fey notes you will want to secure a dark, dry space to provide the best off-season conditions for the car. “A moisture-rich environment can lead to rust, mold, and mildew—and direct sunlight can lead to paint fading over time,” she says. “You will want to make sure you’ve chosen a nice, dry environment that can help to protect all of these aspects and the overall integrity of the vehicle.” Though Berkley One always requires collector vehicle clients to store insured vehicles in secure safe storage spaces, it’s particularly important in the off-season when clients consider moving their car to an offsite storage facility they may not be visiting every day. Fey also suggests purchasing a 100% waterproof car cover to keep moisture at bay. Please keep in mind that moisture is one of the biggest culprits in the deterioration of a car’s look and value.
Take care of your battery – While storage considerations pertaining to the vehicle’s exteriors and aesthetics are key, it’s also critical to remember the car’s mechanics—beginning with the battery. Unless you plan to check in on the car and start the engine every couple of months, it’s best to either disconnect the battery or purchase a Battery Tender trickle charger, which provides a low-wave current charge to your battery all season long.
Stabilize your fuel – Old fuel can stale—especially in a car that is sitting idle for several months. To help prevent gum and varnish resulting from oxidation (especially in cars with older engines), add fuel stabilizer to a full tank of gas, then drive around for 20 minutes to ensure it’s well mixed. The other benefit to filling up your tank (with fuel and stabilizer alike) is its help in countering rust, resulting from an empty tank’s increasing moisture levels over time.
Top off important fluids – Because harmful acids can build up in motor oil and cause damaging effects to the engine if left for too long, it’s a wise idea to get an oil change before seasonal storage. When you do, be sure to drive your car for a few minutes directly afterwards to ensure the oil is being incorporated throughout the car’s system at its full functioning and temperature. While you’re in maintenance mode, top off all other important liquids, too, including antifreeze and engine coolant—a step that helps prevent any corrosion occurring from low fluid levels and the condensation they can yield.