While not all owners of classic cars actually drive their vehicles on the road regularly, those who do have to keep a few basic concepts in mind, and one of these is changing seasons. All vehicles that drive regularly have areas of their care or safety that will be altered somewhat when the weather changes, but classic cars tend to be heightened in this area -- and as we move into fall, there are a few things you should be thinking about.
At Andersen Restoration Parts, we're happy to offer numerous parts to assist with your classic car's needs, whether in terms of restoration or any other area. We provide bushing kits, shaft kits, suspension rebuilds, and a huge selection of other products to fill your every need. We also happily offer tips and expertise on regular care of any classic vehicle, including for needs like these. Here are some simple recommendations on how to ensure your classic car is in good shape if you'll be driving it this fall.
Weather Varies Heavily Around the Country
Some of the variables we'll discuss within this blog speak to weather elements that impact your vehicle on the road, and this naturally requires some context regarding where you live. If you're in the northern states, it's likely that fall will already be bringing cooler temperatures, rain, and potential snowfall; if you reside further south, meanwhile, conditions might still be relatively warm and dry.
It's important to monitor local weather forecasts as we move into fall so that you can adjust your car care accordingly. And naturally, if you're driving long-distance during this season, be sure to check conditions along your route as well -- a sudden drop in temperature or rise in precipitation can lead to slick roads and other hazards.
Tires & Wheels
We'll start with one of the most basic needs of any car on the road: good tires. Your tires are what provide contact between your vehicle and the road, and as such, they play a pivotal role in both safety and performance. If you live in an area with snowy winters, you might consider switching to winter tires for your classic car; these are designed to provide better traction and stability in cold weather.
You should also take a look at your tires' tread depth and air pressure. In general, you want at least 1/8" of tread depth remaining, and it's best to check your tires' pressure when they're cold (i.e., first thing in the morning). If you need to add air to your tires, be sure not to overinflate them -- this can cause instability and make it more likely for them to fail.
While you're inspecting your tires, it's also a good idea to take a look at your wheels. If you notice any cracks, dents, or other damage, it's best to have them repaired before driving on them again. Classic car wheels have often been in place for several decades, and as such, they might be more susceptible to damage than modern ones; it's best to err on the side of caution.
Fluids & Filters
Next, let's take a look under the hood. As you know, your classic car has a number of fluids that are essential to its operation, and it's crucial to ensure that these are at the correct levels. Oil is perhaps the most important of these fluids, as it lubricates your engine and helps to prevent overheating. Check your car's owner's manual to see how frequently you should change your oil; in general, it's a good idea to do so at least once every 5,000 miles.
While you're checking your oil levels, it's also a good idea to take a look at your engine's other fluids. These include coolant, brake fluid, and transmission fluid. Again, you can consult your owner's manual to see how frequently these should be changed; as a general rule of thumb, though, it's best to do so every 30,000 miles or so.
It's also important to check your car's filters at this time. The two most crucial filters are the air filter and the fuel filter; a dirty air filter can reduce your engine's power, while a dirty fuel filter can cause it to run less efficiently.
Lights are always important when driving, and especially when the weather starts to turn. As days get shorter and visibility diminishes, it's crucial to make sure that your classic car's lights are in good working order. Check all of your bulbs -- headlamps, brake lights, turn signals, etc. -- and replace any that seem to be burned out.
It's also a good idea to clean your car's lights at this time. Over the course of a few months, they can accumulate a layer of grime that can reduce their output; a quick cleaning will help to ensure that they're as bright as possible.
Windshield Wipers & Washer Fluid
Finally, let's take a look at your windshield wipers and washer fluid. As autumn approaches, the chances of rain and snow increase; as such, it's important to make sure that your wipers are in good working order. If they're leaving streaks on your windshield or otherwise not performing optimally, it's time to replace them.
It's also a good idea to top off your washer fluid at this time. In the colder months, you'll want to use a washer fluid that has anti-freeze properties; this will help to prevent it from freezing in your car's reservoir.
With these fall season preparation tips, you can help ensure that your classic car is ready for whatever the weather might bring. By taking care of some basic maintenance items and being aware of potential problems, you can help keep your car on the road for years to come.
For more on this, or to learn about any of our classic car restoration parts or solutions, speak to our expert team at Andersen Restoration Parts today.