Storing a classic car over winter

At Great Escape Classic Car Hire we’ve learnt a few lessons about correct storage of classic cars over the winter to minimise deterioration. Here are our tips to help ensure your classic car survives this winter.

1. Dampness is the enemy. This is obvious, but the steps to avoid it aren’t. Even otherwise dry storage will leave a classic car damp due to moisture in the air. The key is to ensure air circulates through the storage unit and the interior is ventilated, for example by leaving the windows slightly open. Also open the air vents to improve circulation

2. Disconnect or hook up the battery to a battery conditioner/charger. This will help avoid a dead battery that needs replacement when the car requires use.

3. Exercise the car regularly – at least once a fortnight. This means driving the car, not just starting it up and running it. Classic cars that are started up, warmed up and switched off without being driven will incur unnecessary engine wear. The car needs to be driven to exercise all moving parts, even if this means taking the car on wet roads. If the car is driven on wet or salted roads jet wash the car off before returning it to the garage and allow to dry outside or with the storage unit doors open o well ventilated

4. Ensure the levels are properly topped up when the car is initially ‘laid up.’ This will avoid corrosion of gearbox innards etc. Ensure the radiator is topped up with winter proportions of coolant and water.

5. Use a car cover or ideally a Carcoon to protect the paintwork. Always store the car without any dirt or dust on the paintwork. The cover must be breathable – blankets or heavy throws are not ideal as they trap the moisture. Light sheets or ideally a specially designed car cover are much better

6. Do not use the handbrake when you park the car up – just put the car in gear. This will prevent the handbrake seizing on

7. If you have to leave the car for a long period without moving it pump up the tyres to around 25% higher pressure to avoid flat spots. There are several products available specifically designed to prevent flat spots

8. It is wise to invest in a rust inhibitor treatment, such as Waxoyl, wax injection or similar

At Great Escape Classic Car Hire we always clean and polish our cars for winter storage and use either Carcoons or professional car covers. We either disconnect batteries or hook them up to trickle chargers and we exercise the cars once every two weeks. We use a hig pressure jet wash to clean the underside and low pressure hoses to clean out the wheel arches.

We’re by no means experts but we’re always happy to offer any advice based on running 50 classic cars throughout the year. Call Graham on 01527 893733 or email

#classiccarexperiences #classiccarhire #classiccarstorage

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