Make Sure Your Summer Wheels are Ready for Action
The long winter is over, and those classic and sports cars are coming out of hibernation. Is yours ready for the summer ahead?
Winter truly had a sting in its tail, when the Beast from the East rolled in and took us all by surprise at the end of February. But now, after a few false starts, spring is definitely here. For car enthusiasts, that means it is safe to bring their summer wheels out of the garage and start enjoying them again.
You will probably be eager to give the car a clean, and maybe visit your local car paint suppliers to touch up any little nicks and grazes that family members might have added to your pride and joy during the winter months while brushing past it. But there are a few other things you need to check before you hit the road.
Are you covered?
Time slips by. Sometimes, you can be certain that you renewed the insurance only a few months ago, only to find it expired last week. Just double check everything. Even if your classic qualifies for free road tax, you still need to register it as being on the road. Driving an uninsured or unlicensed car on the road is a disaster waiting to happen in the event of an accident – and on top of that, it will also immediately “ping” the ANPR in any passing police car, and could lead to the car being seized and the driver in hot water.
Do some basic checks under the bonnet
It is tempting to leap behind the wheel and fire up the engine, but 10 minutes on some basic checks could save weeks of repairs. Pop the bonnet and make sure everything is as it should be. Check oil, coolant, brake fluid and other fluids such as power steering if applicable, and just make sure all the leads are attached correctly and no wildlife has taken up residence around the engine.
Now, you can start up! If the engine is reluctant to crank over, the battery might need charging or even replacement. On a modern car, there are electronics such as immobilisers that slowly drain the juice.
And some external checks
Before you drive off into the sunshine, take some time to walk round the car after you have driven it out of the garage. Do the tyres look OK? If the car’s been standing for a few months, your first stop should be to check all the pressures, including the spare. Also take a look underneath to ensure that you are not losing any oil or coolant. Any leak is most likely to appear after a long break.
Hit the road
With the preliminaries out of the way, there’s nothing left but to hit the road! Take some time getting reacquainted with your summer wheels. It probably drives very differently to your winter car. Also, take it easy for the first few miles to give the brakes and suspension a chance to free off. Discs can acquire a thin sheen of corrosion when standing, so the brakes might “grab” a little on the first few applications. Have fun!