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How to store your classic car

Ready for your summer trip(s)?

Summer is finally there! The time of year to treat yourself to some road trips, rallies and classic car events. Prepare your car for intensive use by performing some essential checks before you leave on a trip or rally. Below are eight tips that any enthusiast or classic car owner can perform.

Article content

1. Change the engine oil and oil filter.
2. Top up the necessary fluids. 
3. Air up and inspect the tyres. 
4. Check the engine.
5. Check the brakes.
6. Top up and treat the fuel.
7. Check your cooling system.
8. Give her a good wash.

1. Change the engine oil 
Before you leave on a trip, it is a good idea to check your oil again and change your oil filter. If the oil is black, you should replace it completely, otherwise a simple maintenance is sufficient. As a general rule, it is recommended to change a classic car's oil every 3,000 km (or every 3 months). This is considered good practice for classic cars as they show more wear and tear than modern cars, and changing the oil is crucial to keep the engine in good condition. For a more modern car, it is recommended to change your oil completely every 10,000 to 15,000 km.

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.

Check and top up the engine oil
Below is a brief description of how best to proceed.

1. Let the engine warm up briefly and put the car on a stable surface.
2. Open the bonnet. Find the oil dipstick.
3. Pull the oil dipstick out of the engine and clean it with a cloth.
4. Markings indicate where the oil level should be in between.
5. Ideally, the oil level should be near the highest mark.

Caution: use the right oil for your car. Consult your car's handbook or our catalogue for the right oil. Or ask our sales staff.

6. Put a long funnel on the open filler cap. Add oil little by little until you reach the correct level. Always use the oil dipstick as a reference.
Caution: Do not pour the entire oil can into the reservoir at once. Add some oil in small amounts until you reach the desired oil level. Too much oil creates excess pressure in the engine.

7. Screw the filler cap back on, replace the oil dipstick and close the bonnet.

Check our website for an overview of all our manuals.

How to completely change your car's oil?
1. Let the engine warm up briefly and put the car on a stable surface.
2. Sometimes it is recommended to raise the car with a jack. This way, you can easily reach the drain plug located on the sump pan.
3. Unscrew the oil filler cap. (This makes the oil flow out more smoothly) Let all the oil flow out by unscrewing the drain plug.
(Check your manual for the correct location) The drain plug is a bolt that you need to loosen with the right tool.
4. Collect the oil in a fluid drain pan. (Capacity 5/6 litres or more) under the car. Wait until everything is out.
5. Also unscrew the oil filter when all the oil is out. Because usually extra oil also comes in here and prevents staining.
7. Clean the opening where the oil came out with a cloth.
Re-tighten the drain plug with the right tool. See that it is tight and replace the sealing ring so that no leaks are possible.
8. Now you can fit the new oil filter. This only needs to be screwed in.
Oil filters
Oil filter, spin on
MGA (1955-1962)
MGB (1962-1980) (Mann)

Oil filter
spin on MGA (1955 - 1962)

Oil filter
Midget / Spitfire (Mann)

Oil change tools
Fluid Drip Pan, 6L

Fluid drip pan, 16L

Draper: Jack general (1 Tonne)

Wheel dollies, pair

See more tools

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

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

2. Top up your coolant and other necessary fluids

Check all your fluids - the most important ones are engine oil (already mentioned above), coolant and brake fluid. Also check power steering fluid (not all classic cars have it), transmission fluid and windscreen wiper fluid. Consult your car's manual to know if your car needs power steering fluid.

Coolant is an essential component for the operation of your engine. Without coolant, you may still be able to start the car, but it won't run for long. Coolant helps the engine stay at an acceptable temperature. With the help of a radiator, coolant can absorb heat and then dissipate it. If you have too little coolant, you are likely to experience overheating problems. Especially in summer during long drives, this can cause problems. So before you leave on holiday, it is always advisable to check and top up the coolant as well.
In most classic cars, you can check the coolant level by removing the radiator cap. Most cars have a separate reservoir for the coolant system. There are also cars where this coolant level can be found near the radiator. That location can also be found in your car's manual. ALWAYS make sure the car is completely cold before removing the radiator cap to avoid injury from bandaging. A lot of heat and pressure builds up in the cooling system and it can take some time to reduce it to a cool, safe level. Therefore, take extra care when removing the cap to avoid injury.

There are special coolants specially developed for classic cars. Coolant For Life (5L) is a coolant specially developed for classic cars.
For Life increases the boiling temperature of your oil by up to 180°. If you need something stronger for your race car, opt for a premium product such as Evans classic 180° (5L).

Coolant, Super Cool, Dynolite (473 ml)

Coolant, Forlife (5L)

Coolant, all season (5L)

See more coolants

3. Air up the tyres
Before setting off on a long drive, it is advisable to check your tyre pressure. Set the pressure slightly higher than is recommended for long drives. What is the condition of your tyres? Replace them if necessary. Check that all nuts are tightened according to specifications.

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

Carburettor lubricant
Damper oil, SU Penrite (150ml)

5. Check the brakes
Properly functioning brakes are obviously essential for your safety. Take a test drive and check your brakes by stopping a few times in quick succession. Check and top up the brake fluids and clean the brake discs.

6. Top up motor oil and treat the fuel 
Use good oil that fits your classic car. We recommend using Penrite Classic Light 20W50 (5L) This oil is specially developed to protect petrol and diesel engines built between 1950-1989. Classic Light is recommended for use where SAE 30 or 20W-50 oils were originally recommended.

You can top up your fuel with Miller's Tank Safe 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 an additive provides.

A special treatment of the fuel, is espacially fitted for pre-1996 vehicles; 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.

Miller's Tank Safe is a fuel additive designed to protect classic cars from the harmful effects of ethanol blended fuels. Ethanol can cause damage to older fuel systems and corrode fuel tanks, leading to expensive repairs. By adding Miller's Tank Safe to your fuel tank, you can prevent ethanol-related damage, maintain optimal engine performance, and extend the lifespan of your British classic car. Additionally, Miller's Tank Safe contains a powerful detergent that can clean and protect fuel injectors, carburetors, and combustion chambers, leading to improved fuel economy and reduced emissions.

Motor oils
Penrite oil
Classic Light
20W60 (5L)

Discover our range of motor oil
for your classic car.

Products recommended by British Motor Heritage.

Fuel additives
Millers Tank Safe (250ml) (198.091)
Protects your tank from ethanol (modern petrol)

7. Check your cooling system
If you go to a sunny place and/or you need to do a good number of miles, be sure to check your fan and top up your coolant too. This is to prevent the engine from overheating, and avoid a breakdown. Smoking engines used to be a common phenomenon because the engines of previous eras were not equipped for high temperatures. The fluid in your engine starts boiling from 100°. Add the right coolant and increase the boiling temperature up to 180°.

If you would like a bit more security in your car in terms of cooling then go for an upgrade and install a Revotec fan.
Revotec fan kits are more efficient than standard cooling systems. The fans are designed to move more air through the radiator, dissipating heat more effectively. This can lead to lower engine temperatures and better engine performance.
Installing a Revotec fan kit is relatively easy and the kits come with all the necessary hardware and instructions. This means that even people with limited mechanical experience can install the kit without any problems.

In short, if you want to improve your vehicle's cooling performance, a Revotec fan kit is an excellent option. With their versatility, efficiency and ease of installation, they are a great value for any car enthusiast.

Revotec fan conversion kits
MGB (1962-1976) NEG earth

MGA (1955 - 1962) NEG earth

Discover our range of Revotec fan conversion kits
for your British classic car
(MGA, MGB, MGC, Midget, Sprite, ...)

8. Clean your car thoroughly
Give your favourite car a good wash before setting off on a trip. Much more fun to spend hours in a clean car than a dirty one. Keeping your body and interior in a good condition interior too, increases driving pleasure and it also maintains the value of your classic car (especially if you want to sell it in the near future).
Discover our Auto Glym products