For many classic car owners, the instinct is to wrap the car up and mothball it for the cold winter months, and not approach it until spring. While the underlying idea is good – protect the car – it’s not necessarily the best thing for the vehicle for a number of reasons.

Mice and other critters are looking for homes.

If you keep your car in a shed or garage, chances are there are other occupants looking for a winter home, and your classic car’s engine or even interior might prove an attractive nesting place to sit out the winter months. During the winter, check the car regularly and ensure that no small furry friends have moved in.

Protect the engine from rust.

It’s a good idea to take your classic car out for short drives on nice days, preferably when there’s no ice and salt on the roads. Occasionally driving the car keeps a protective film of motor oil deposited on internal engine parts, protecting them from oxidation and corrosion. This thin oil film will prevent the internal engine parts from rusting by keeping air and corrosive agents away.

Let it warm up first.

Before you take your vehicle out, however, it’s important to let it warm up first. Experts recommend that you bring it up to normal operating temperature and then allow it to run for at least 20 minutes to help burn off any debris that may have accumulated during the weeks or months of storage.

Wait for a nice day.

To minimize the negative impact on your vehicle, wait for a dry day with warmer-than-usual temperatures. Choose a long route with good roads (watch out for potholes!) and enjoy a rare day out with your vehicle during the long winter months. Experts recommend keeping your speeds moderate until the vehicle is fully warmed up. Before you put your vehicle back in storage, give it a quick wash to get rid of any dust, dirt or road salt it may have picked up on your winter drive.

Get Help from An Expert

At Innovative Restorations, we’re restoration experts. Stop by our automotive repair shop in Wallingford, Connecticut and we can help you keep your classic vehicle in tip-top shape year-round. We take pride in offering timely, professional work on vintage automobiles. Contact us today to discuss how best to protect your classic car over the winter months.