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How to store your classic car

Prepare your classic car for spring

by Anglo Parts
February 2023

Spring is coming... Whether you've left your car parked for a long time or you've only put it aside for a short time, it's better to check your classic car before you start using it regularly again. Below are some DIY tips that any classic car enthusiast or owner can perform.

Article content

1. Check your fluids.
2. Check the belts and hoses. 
3. Air up and inspect the tyres. 
4. Check the engine, start ‘er up’. 
5. Check the clutch system.
6. Check the brakes. 
7. Top up and treat the fuel.
8. Give her a good wash.
9. Extra tip: take a look at our upgrades. (For the race fanatic).
10. Change your wipers.

1. Check your fluids
If it’s black, the oil should be changed. Most vehicles require an oil change every six months if they are regularly used. Some manufacturers recommend replacing the filter with every other oil change and doing so with each maintenance prevents it from clogging prematurely.

Your engine requires a tremendous volume of clean oil to operate properly. If the oil filter is not changed periodically, the filter can become severely clogged, reducing the volume of oil passing through the filter and into your engine. Without this oil, your engine can suffer severe damage.

Check all of your fluids – the most important ones are engine oil, coolant and brake fluid.  You may also want to check up on your power steering fluid (not all classic cars have this), transmission fluid and windshield wiper fluid.

How to check the transmission fluid

If your vehicle has a dipstick for the transmission, you can check it with the dipstick. Attention! The vehicle should be running when you check it. Transmission fluid should look clean and be a glossy red colour. Replace it if it looks burnt or dirty. If you need to add fluid for some reason, locate and pour it into the fill tube (Your vehicle may not have one).

How to check the antifreeze fluid

Without it, you might be able to start the car, but it isn’t going to run for very long. Coolant (antifreeze) is what helps the engine operate at an acceptable temperature. With the help of a radiator, coolant is able to absorb the heat and then dissipate it. If you run low of coolant, it is likely you will have overheating issues.
On most classic cars, you can check the coolant level by removing the radiator cap. ALWAYS make sure the car is totally cold before removing the radiator cap. A lot of heat and pressure builds up within the cooling system and can take some time to reduce to a cool, safe level. Take extra care when removing the cap to avoid injury.

Check your car’s manual for the location of the fluids
Check our website for an overview of all our manuals.
Oil filter, spin on
MGA (1955-1962)
MGB (1962-1980) (Mann)

Oil filter
spin on MGA (1955 - 1962)

Oil filter
Midget / Spitfire (Mann)

See more oil filters

Anglo Parts has a wide range of oil filters available. Change your filter regularly to make sure your car performance in an optimal condition.

Take a look at our oil filters for your British classic.

Check your car's manual for the location of the fluids.

2. Check the belts and hoses
Check and adjust belts and hoses. Check the belts for dry rot and wear. Adjust them to the proper tension. If you are nearing the end of the total adjustment to get the belt tight, it’s time for a new one.  Hoses should be checked for dry rot and leaking. Make sure all clamps are tight on the radiator and heater hoses. Also, make sure the thermostat housing and heater hose fitting into the intake manifold and water pump is not leaking. 
3. Air up the tyres
What shape are your tires in? Look for dry rotting, uneven wear, and check for proper air pressure.
Suspension and steering can be checked somewhat before driving. You will want to lube the chassis, check for play in the steering wheel that goes beyond what’s normal, and move the front wheel by hand back and forth to determine if there’s any play in the wheel bearings or tie rods. Finally, make sure all lug nuts are torqued to spec.

4. Check the engine
Before you take your car for a spin, let the engine run for a couple of minutes to make sure it warms up and the oil and other fluids are up to temperature. Then you can take her out for a test drive. Pay attention to weird sounds of the engine. If you noticed any strange change sounds, something might be wrong with your spark plugs. You’re spark plugs might need changing If you notice any of the following signs:

•    Engine Misfires. A misfiring engine
     is a big sign that one or more
     of your spark plugs are
     not firing properly.

•    Poor Gas Mileage.
     When spark plugs are working
     correctly, they burn fuel efficiently
     in your engine.

•    Trouble Starting.

•    Slow Acceleration.

•    Rough Idling.

In principle spark plugs only need changing every 20.000km. If you have purchased a 'new' classic car then it might also be advisable to replace your spark plugs.

How to change a spark plug
Check out this tutorial on the Champions website (Article).
When should you replace your spark plugs?
•    Melted spark plug 
•    Soot deposits on spark plug
•    Insulator breakage

Normal brown discolouration
at the top of the spark plug.
Due to deposition of ionically
charged particles.

Deposits or melted on top
of the spark plug. Old engines cause the spark plug to go above its optimum range and the spark plug will start to melt.

If the spark plugs have a matte
black or grey appearance,
it could be carbon fouling
something typically caused
by a fuel mixture that is too rich.
(Not enough air in engine)

Spark Plugs (Champion)
Spark plug RNGYCC
MGA, MGB, MGC, Midget, AH Sprite

Spark Plug Champion N5C
MGA 1955-1962
MG Midget 1964-1980

Spark Plugs (NGK)
Spark Plug NGK BP6ES

Spark Plug BP5ES
MG Midget 1964-1980
AH Sprite 1958-1964

See more spark plugs

Carburettor lubricant
Damper oil, SU Penrite (150ml)

5. Check the clutch system
In principle a clutch only needs to be changed between every 80.000 and 120.000km.
But if you’re testing your newly bought classic car, Look for these signs:

•    Difficulty shifting gear.

•    Squeaking or grumbling
     noise when the clutch
     pedal is pressed.

•    Spongy, sticking, vibrating
     or loose clutch pedal
     when pressed.

•    Ability to rev the engine,
     but poor acceleration.

Slippin' clutch, causing
     a momentary loss
     of acceleration.

Clutch kit
Jaguar MKI-II

Clutch kit
Jaguar E-Type
XK 120,140, 150 3.8

Clutch kit
Jaguar MGA 1955-1966
MGB 1962-1980

See more clutch kits
6. Check the brakes
Safety first, check the brakes, first check the disc drives then you can check the performance during a test drive.                
For disc brakes, check the thickness of the brake pads. You should be able to see this without disassembling anything.
Test the stopping of your car a couple of times. You may want to check the brake fluids or the brake discs for any residue and fill them up or clean the brake disc’s.

7. Top up and treat the fuel 
Use good oil that fits your classic car. You can top up your fuel with
Valvemaster to protect your tank against corrosion and lead and ethanol damage. Classic sports cars engines in particular operate at higher revs, are often driven at sustained speed, and therefore require the level of protection that Valvemaster and Valvemaster Plus provide.

A special treatment of the fuel, is espacially fitted for pre-1996 vehicles without catalytic converter, they are sensitive to the ethanol in the petrol used in gas stations. The European Union Fuel Quality Directive introduced a specification in 2011 that petrol may contain up to 10% ethanol. This petrol is commonly known as E10. E10 petrol is currently sold in France, Germany, Belgium and Finland. Classic car owners will therefore definitely benefit from this product.

Motor oils
Castrol oil
XL 20W50 (1L)

Castrol oil
XL 20W50 (5L)

Castrol oil
XL 20W50 (20L)

Discover our range of motor oil
for your classic car.

Products recommended by British Motor Heritage.

Fuel additives
Valvemaster classic fuel additive (198.059)
Protects your tank from ethanol (modern petrol)

Millers Oil Classic VSPe (198.079)
For vehicles that ran on leaded fuel and now use unleaded fuel.

8. Clean your car thoroughly
Owning a classic car is also a little bit the enjoyment of being seen. Therefore, give your favorite car a good wash and enjoy your first ride even more. Keep your body work in a good condition and your interior as well, also increases the value of your car if you’re looking to sell it in the near future.

Discover our Auto Glym products
9. Extra tip for the race fans
If you’re a race fanatic, you might want to upgrade some of your parts for extra performance. Your Ignition is a very important part for your car’s performance and also the starter engine may have a big impact on the start of your classic car.
Wosp motors are proven to be light-weight, powerful and they are built for performance.

You can also upgrade your ignition with CSI Ignition. This high-quality ignition is especially designed for classic cars. No need for maintenance, the ignition has his original look. You have a standard electronic version and there’s a version available that can be controlled from a distance with an app. You can find some more information about CSI on our landing page.

CSI ignition (More info)
Wosp Performance (More info)
10. Change wipers
Change your wipers. Take a look at our range of wiper blades for your British classic.