Driving your classic car during the winter | Hexagon, Classic and Sports Cars
Hexagon, Classic and Sports Cars

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Driving your classic car during the Winter

Many people think that driving around in your classic car is only something you can do during the warmer months. However with sensible precautions, we at Hexagon Classics feel that classic cars can be driven during the winter, even when mother nature brings rain, snow, ice and wind. A recent BBC programme detailed the importance of winter walks to enjoy the fresh air and help fight the winter blues. We feel that enjoying your classic car for a brisk drive on the quieter roads is also a great way to lift your spirits and boost your adrenaline.

To help ensure that you can drive your classic car without worrying about the weather, here is our guide on how to enjoy it during the winter.

Adjust your driving style

It is always best to think about how you can change and adjust your driving style to match the road conditions you are driving on. 

You should be easier on your accelerator, particularly if you are driving in wet or icy conditions. Classic cars do not have many of the safety features that modern cars do. It is unlikely that you will have traction control and ABS to help you in these conditions; instead, it is all down to how you drive.

It is also worth noting that braking distances will increase during the winter. So, you need to give yourself space, distance and time to keep safe and protect others around you.

If your classic car is stored for long periods of time, fuel in the tank can become stale. Stale fuel is when fuel becomes degraded and loses a significant portion of its combustibility. It is therefore important for classic cars that there is always ample fuel during the winter months. When you are putting your classic car back into longer term storage, it is advisable to ensure that there is minimum fuel in the tank to prevent it going stale.

Top up engine coolant with antifreeze

Antifreeze is added to your classic cars engine cooling system to prevent it freezing under cold weather conditions. Not only does the coolant reduce the freezing point, but it also raises the boiling point of the engine coolant which can help your classic car maintain its ambient operating temperature.

To check your coolant locate your engine coolant tank. Ensure your engine is cold, at least two hours after its last use before you top it up. Ensure you use the correct additive and dilution for your classic car.

Check the health of your tyres

When you are not driving your classic car, there is a good chance that you will store it away in a garage to keep it safe and dry. Whilst this is a great idea, the lack of movement can cause the rubber in your tyres to deteriorate and perish over time. 

This means that should check your tyres regularly, especially if your car remains unused for a long period of time. You want to ensure that there are no cracks or bulges on the material of the tyres. You should also check tyre pressures before you head out on your drive and adjust them, as required. 

If your classic car needs new tyres, it is worth noting that this can be tricky to do, and you can’t just nip down the local tyre centre. It is more likely that you will have to shop around or find a specialist to find the right tyres.  You may even want to consider having some winter tyres fitted.


Check the health of your battery

A car battery that is well-maintained and healthy is a must for a seamless cold start. Especially when the winter months come in, this is because the colder weather will reduce battery performance as it slows down the chemical processes within the battery.

Hexagon Classics recommends using a good quality trickle charger (such as those manufactured by CTEK) to maintain the health of your classic cars battery. It is also worth considering adding a small amount of grease on the battery terminals to prevent electrical contacts from corroding.

Make sure you have a winter kit

Certain things you need to have in your car no matter the weather; however, in the winter months, you may want specific items in your classic car. You never know when a breakdown or a fault may occur with a classic car, so preparing for the worst is essential. 

The main things that you should have in a classic car winter kit include:

  • Torch- in case of an emergency in the darker evenings.
  • Spare tyre – in the event of a flat tyre or puncture.
  • A scraper and de-icer – should you experience a frozen or icy windscreen.
  • Screen wash – winter roads can throw up a lot of dirt and restrict your view, so having ample supply is essential.
  • Oil  - classic cars can burn a lot more oil than modern vehicles so always have some spare to top up if required.
  • Mobile phone and either a car charger lead or a power bank – you’ll thank yourself if you do breakdown and can’t resolve the issue yourself.

The post drive clean

With ice and puddles on the roads, it is important to ensure that you hose off the under carriage of your car after enjoying it. This is especially important if your classic car has a non-galvanized body to prevent road salts and any other corrosive contaminants damaging the bodywork and wheel arches of your classic car.

There are also special treatments available to inhibit rust and corrosion such as Waxoyl. Hexagon Classics has a range of preventative treatments available that can be tailored to your requirements.

Arrange for an expert assessment

On top of the checks of fluid levels, batteries & tyres, it is imperative to make an expert winter assessment of a vehicle's overall health to locate any issues that may prevent you from enjoying your classic car. At our state-of-the-art facilities in Fortis Green, North London, our expert team at Hexagon Classics offer this important service to owners of both classic and modern. On any car that is emerging from a period of rest, no matter how short, knowing what to look for and where to look is second nature to the factory trained technicians at Hexagon Classics.

For more information about our services or to have a conversation about your classic car, please call the Hexagon Classics workshop on 020 8815 0867 or email: serviceinfo@hexagonclassics.com