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  • Barney

Storage And Cars Under Lockdown

I am being asked over and over again for practical advice with regard the lockdown with more and more of our cars being SORN. The advice is stay home and no unnecessary journeys.

Even though we know this is a very tough time on so many levels for many of us, we car nuts can’t help but be a little down in the dumps. This is the time of year, the clocks change and our spirits are lifted. Plans start to be drawn up.

What road trips, race meets, events are we going to attend. As Easter approaches, we usually find ourselves becoming increasingly excited about removing the car cover and carrying out the pre-flight checks on our pride and joy ready for the first drive of the spring. Not this year!!! They will remain under lock and key.

So some practical advice as the period of hibernation has been extended and is going to be rather longer than usual.

Don’t put cars away wet and I don’t just mean the paintwork. If you drive a car in the wet and put it away wet, the car remains damp underneath for longer and things suffer. Take it for a dry drive and put away clean and while still warm.

Don’t wash the car and put it away immediately with wet brakes. Damp remains between the brake disc and the brake pad surface, does not dry out, corrodes the brake discs and causes and nasty brake pad shape corroded shadow. This will cause bad vibrations once the car is driven again and often the corrosion is too deep, with the only answer being an expensive disc and pad change all round.

Put away on a decent battery maintainer and if you don’t have one, pull off the negative battery lead and replace next time you are going for a start-up. This will preserve the battery. Check levels and tyre pressures before you put in to storage. This also gives a reference point. When you next check these, it will be instantly obvious if you have a tyre loosing pressure or a fluid level has dropped.

Run the car properly up to temperature every 10 – 14 days. 20 minutes will be fine and run with the heater and air conditioning on. This helps dry out any moisture and damp. Keep an eye on the temperature gauge during this time especially those cars that only have electric fans.

Move the car if possible, operating the clutch and brakes. This will stop the clutch seizing on, calipers seizing and hydraulics failing.

Try and park the car in a slightly different position ensuring the tyres are not sitting in the same position on the floor. You don’t want tyres with flat spots. Tyres can go square after long periods of inactivity and this will cause wheel balance type vibrations and the tyres will not go round again after use.

I have banged on about fuel to you guys before. We have all seen the E5 (5% Ethanol) and B7 (7% biodiesel) signs on the pumps. These fuels contain water and that water causes damage to many areas of a cars fuel system, especially to carburettor cars. If these fuels are used, regular starting is essential to ensure the water does not separate from the fuel and cause corrosion.

When this nasty problem has gone and we eventually get our toys back out the garage, don’t just jump in and drive off. Check levels, tyre pressures, check for any fluids that may have dropped on the floor, run up to temperature first, check the car does not overheat and take for a short gentle run testing brakes gently to ensure no problems have arisen from this longer layup. Check the levels again before the next run.

Hope this helps and see you all on the other side.

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