Hinheritance and winter are approaching. Time for many old-timer friends and convertible drivers to send their four-wheeled darling into hibernation. Tips from Auto Club Europa (ACE) and vehicle preparation expert Dieter Thiel show how this works.
1. Overwinter outside
Do not use a film to cover the car, dirt and moisture can collect underneath, which can lead to scratches, corrosion damage and the formation of mold. Instead, oldie owners fall back on breathable, water-repellent, soft covers.
The interior can be protected from UV light with cloths to prevent plastics, fabrics and leather from fading and becoming brittle and brittle.
2. Wintering indoors
Pay attention to dryness and ventilation of the room. These can be halls or barns. In large cities, companies offer covered parking spaces. To avoid mold, the side windows should ideally be opened up to two centimeters. Cat litter placed in a cardboard box or box in the car can remove moisture from the air.
Thorough external cleaning with subsequent drying is required before parking. Otherwise, soiling could damage the paintwork if it is not used for a long time. Urgent removal of stone chip damage to avoid rust. Then seal the varnish with wax.
4. Convertible top
Soapy water or special convertible top cleaning agents are suitable for cleaning. Then use an impregnating agent. Maintain hinges and locks with oil or grease. The seals and other rubber parts keep Vaseline, talc or glycol pliable.
It is best to keep the soft top slightly open in a relaxed position. If you leave a convertible top folded back for a long time, you run the risk of wrinkles and brittle areas.
5. Interior cleaning
In particular, clean the steering wheel, gear lever and seat belts with soapy water to prevent mold. Textiles, carpets and trunk are vacuumed and, if necessary, carpet foam is used. Rubber floor mats are removed.
Leather can be cleaned with special leather care products such as saddlery soap or with strongly diluted vinegar essence (caution: intense smell). Then the leather should be kept supple with leather grease, for example. Important: Everything that has been made wet has to be dried again.
The battery is disconnected to prevent a vehicle fire and rapid discharge. Since a disconnected battery also discharges over time, a charge maintenance device can be used.
This discharges and charges the battery regularly, thereby extending its service life. If you don’t have one, you should recharge the battery every two to three months with a charger
7. Protection from frost
Check the coolant’s antifreeze protection, top up antifreeze if necessary. The windscreen washer system can be protected with a winter additive. After filling, however, operate the system so that the washer fluid pumps and hoses are also protected from frost
Fill up with fuel and metal oil tanks to prevent rust. Fill up the plastic tank so that bacteria find little oxygen – if possible, use a fuel stabilizer if the vehicle is parked for more than four months.
Change the oil that is no longer amber. If you are sure not to forget, you can also switch in spring to start the season with fresh oil.
9. Wheels and tires
Clean the wheel arches, the underbody and the wheels and allow them to dry. Be careful when using a high-pressure cleaner, keep a distance of at least half a meter. Before long periods of non-use, increase the air pressure of the tires to the maximum permissible pressure in order to avoid flat spots. Make sure to put a note in the cockpit so that you don’t forget to release the pressure to the value specified by the manufacturer before the first exit in spring.
If possible, jack up the car to relieve the wheels and chassis parts. Otherwise, push the vehicle back and forth a few times during the winter break to protect the tires and wheel bearings. Mark the respective position with chalk in order to relieve a different part of the tire each time
If it is safe to do so, do not apply the handbrake to prevent the brake from seizing up.