How to look after a classic car when it’s not in use

How to look after a classic car when it’s not in use

For most of us, the winter season can be a nightmare when it comes to looking after our classic cars. Moisture, snow, grit and not using the car, in general, can all affect the condition of our cars so in this blog post we will take a look at some of the best ways to look after your car when it’s not in use.

1) Clean your car thoroughly

You probably already wash and care for your car as most of us classic lovers do but it’s even more important to make sure you take care of the finer details before putting your car into storage.

Muck, bird waste and any other bits of grime can be acidic and will corrode your vehicle over time. You should clear all of this debris off and then give it a good wax and polish.  

Waxing and polishing your car will prevent corrosion from setting in when your car isn’t being used.

2) Grease your nuts

When your car is sitting idle during the winter months one of the problems you will need to look out for is your nuts and bolts seizing up, especially on your wheels.

Your wheels were meant to move so having your car sit idle will cause them some problems if they aren’t greased up when not in use. To grease up your wheel nuts you are going to need a jack to take your wheels off. If you aren’t confident in doing this yourself you should take it to a local garage as this can be dangerous.

3) Disconnect your battery

If you don’t disconnect your battery and you let it sit idle for months while being plugged in you are going to need to either purchase a new one or recharge your battery when it’s time for taking your car for a ride. Both of these options are an inconvenience and most people don’t realise that your battery can go flat when not in use.

Classic cars are notorious for losing battery even when everything is switched off so be sure to disconnect your battery when you put your car into storage or when it’s not in use for longer periods of time.

4) Use a breathable car cover

Step back from the tarpaulin!

Tarpaulin is one of your worst enemies when it comes to looking after your classic car but for some odd reason, you always see classic cars wrapped in plastic non-breathable tarpaulin.

Being a non-breathable material means that moisture can’t get out of the layer in between the car and tarpaulin so it sits on the surface of your car and builds up over time. This moisture when left for months can start to erode your paint and damage your car.

If you do want to cover your car you should use a breathable cover that’s fitted for your car brand and model. Don’t use a generic one where possible as it may be cheaper but won’t fit your car exactly and this will cause it to become loose if your car is stored outside.

5) Treat your fuel and top up the levels

When you leave your car sitting around for a long time your fuel can separate which can cause problems with your engine. To make sure this doesn’t happen you will have to treat your fuel beforehand by adding a stabilisation product and running it through your car’s system by running your engine.

Stabilisation products for your fuel can be purchased online or in any reputable garage and you should follow the manufacturers guidelines when adding it to your fuel. When in doubt be sure to contact a qualified mechanic as adding the wrong product or the wrong dosage could damage your car.


Above are some of the best ways you can look after a classic car when not in use. Following these tips will allow your car to be safe for use and require less overall maintenance for the years to come.  Storing your car in a secure location such as a garage or a storage container is going to minimise the risk of your vehicle getting stolen or damaged too so keep that in mind when looking for ways to protect your car.