Why prepare a classic car for storage?
If a valuable car is simply driven off the road in to storage, there will be significant consequences. To mention just a few (and see below): tyres can
deteriorate, battery goes flat, windscreen wipers perish, damp creates mould in the upholstery, panels or chrome can rust, brake and clutch fluid may drain,
engine oil could deteriorate. It is really essential to prepare a car in the same way you would prepare walls or wood for painting.
What’s the best way to prepare a car for storage?
There are many things you can do to prepare your classic vehicle for storage, whether that be for a short time (a few months) or longer term. Here are the recommendations we follow:
- batteries do not like being completely discharged (in other words, going flat) so to keep them in good condition, keep batteries on a trickle charge with a battery conditioner plugged into the mains. If a battery is completely discharged it deteriorates internally and will need to be replaced;
- tyres should be stored in the dark because the light deteriorates the side walls so having them covered preserves their lifetime;
- tyres’ lifetime can also be preserved if the weight of the car is taken off so give consideration to your classic car being stored on axle stands;
- ensure your vintage car is thoroughly cleaned and dried before storage to ensure moisture does not have the opportunity to rust panels and chrome items;
- after cleaning spray your classic car’s chrome with a water displacement fluid such as WD40 and put vaseline on the screen rubbers to keep them flexible;
- ensure adequate ventilation to prevent upholstery going musty – some owners of valuable classic cars choose storage in air chambers for this purpose;
- if the atmosphere in the storage area is dry and warm, a simple sheet over the car to protect it from dust and particles will probably be adequate;
- ensure brake and clutch fluid levels are full and anti-freeze is in the cooling system to maintain their integrity;
- consider changing the engine oil so that build up of acids and contaminants in the old oil are eliminated;
- consider removing spark plugs and adding some upper cylinder lubricant to keep the bores clean;
- if your classic or vintage car has a convertible top leave it up to maintain the integrity of the fabric;
- empty the boot to ensure there are no contents likely to produce moisture or any other contaminants;
- leave your antique car in gear and the hand-brake off to stop the linings sticking to the drum or discs.
If you would prefer us to take care of some or all of these actions, that can certainly be arranged (tariff depending on level of preparation required).
Why consider a de-humidified environment, including a chamber?
Unless there is adequate ventilation for your car, it’s possible a damp environment can produce a musty odour, and even mould on the upholstery or convertible top. Some garages are simply dry and warm, so that perhaps a sheet or car cover is enough; however if there’s any possibility of damp, storage in a dehumidified air chamber will ensure its integrity.
My car doesn't have seat belts, do I need to do anything?
There is no legal requirement for cars produced before 1965 to have seat belts. You may remember a time when you sat in the front or back seat of your parents’ car without their restraint. Having come to no harm then, why bother now? It’s worth remembering that in those days we generally had less of a concern with health and safety; cars were not travelling at the higher speeds of today; there were far fewer vehicles to navigate.
If you have concerns about having your beloved family members and friends travelling in the car with you, it’s certainly worth considering having seat belts fitted. They can be “of the period” to match the car, or be modern.
BEWARE: once seat belts are fitted, it is mandatory they be used.
We can consult with you about the feasibility of upgrading in this way, and potentially arrange for the work to be carried out.
My car doesn't have a heater, is there anything I can do?
This very much depends on the age and make of your vehicle. Sometimes it’s possible to have a heating system fitted, sometimes the make and year of car don’t permit such an addition. May be best to resort to the old trick of having hot water bottles on your lap and at your feet!
Do you recommend a particular range of products to keep my car clean?
While not officially endorsing any particular make, we tend to use Autoglym or Maguire for cleaning products.
If you would like us to arrange for a valet and detailing, a trusted professional who will use high end products, please let us know so we can make arrangements.
How do I get my car out of storage?
We ask for 2 working days notice in advance to enable your car to be readied for collection however we will endeavour to accommodate requests at shorter notice if possible.
If I’m away for the weekend, can I leave my every day car at your premises?
Yes this can be arranged. We need advance notice (when you arrange to collect your classic will suffice) and it will be stored outside.
Does my car need to be insured?
Although we have comprehensive insurance for vehicles and property, it is essential that you hold your own insurance in addition. Please bear in mind there are many cars in store and one vehicle could cause damage to others. Our insurance is held with a renowned company who specialise in classic and high-value vehicles.
What happens if my vehicle is damaged while in storage?
We treat all cars as if they are our own and have an excellent track record. However, we accept that occasionally accidents may happen. When your vehicle arrives with us we will carry out an initial inspection together, agreeing on any existing blemishes. Photographic evidence will be taken to ensure accurate recording of the condition of your car on arrival. In the unlikely event of an incident, we can then refer to the original records.
Who will be handling my car?
Either Paul or trusted trained staff will be the only people to handle your car while in our possession. The car would not be used on the highway in any circumstances, unless express permission is given for something like arranging an MOT at our local trusted garage.
How much do you charge for storage?
Please refer to the Tariff page. While there are some clear guidelines regarding charges, there is always the possibility of arranging some supportive service for your car that is not listed – please feel free to enquire.
How do I pay?
Setting up either a standing order or direct debit with your bank is the preferred method of payment. We do not accept debit or credit cards. It may be possible to arrange BACS payments, and you will be provided with an invoice on a monthly basis. If you prefer to pay a lump sum in advance, perhaps being abroad a longer period of time, this can also be arranged.
How many keys do I need to leave with you? How do you keep them secure?
We require one key or fob to enable us to move the vehicle. These keys are on the premises during working hours and securely held elsewhere outside working hours.
What if I want to inspect or clean the car myself?
We need 2 working days notice in advance to enable your car to be readied for inspection or be made available for cleaning outside.
Can I use your expertise to help me buy a classic car?
Paul can be available for consultation in the complicated process of choosing and purchasing a classic car, be it your first or one for a collection. Given the level of investment, it’s essential to know what you’re buying, perhaps even more so than with a modern car which comes with guarantees. The classic car market includes private sales and auctions. Arrangements can be made for Paul to visit a car you’re interested in and offer a full report of its quality, or lack thereof. He has consulted with clients internationally, even sourcing a particularly hard car to find for someone in Australia.
More information can be found at www.classiccarconsultant.co.uk
If you have a question that is not answered here please contact us and we will do our best to help.