Tips for Getting Your Classic Car Ready for Summer

June 14, 2022

Tips for Getting Your Classic Car Ready for Summer

In winter, you winterize your car. So, what can you do to protect your vehicle when summer rolls around? While there isn't an official term for preparing your car for the warm months, doing so is just as vital as preparing it for the cold. Summer is a beast, and the combination of heat, sun exposure, and unpredictable weather can do real damage to your classic car if you don't equip it with what it needs to endure these harmful elements. To help you fully protect your vehicle, here are our top tips for getting your classic car ready for summer.

A Full Inspection

To start, you'll want to perform a thorough inspection of your car. This way, you can discover and remedy any leftover problems from the winter months, like a dead battery or a leak. Here's what you should examine:

The Exterior

The exterior is a great starting point. Do a full walk around your car and keep an eye out for potential issues, like:

  • Scratches
  • Chipped paint
  • Peeling windshield wipers
  • Dull headlights or taillights
  • Broken windshield
  • Dirty side mirrors
  • Deflated tires

You can fix scratches and other cosmetic blemishes with a scratch kit or a trip to the auto shop. Is your car dirty? Break out the hose or drive down to the local car wash. Bigger problems, like a cracked windshield, might require you to replace a part or two.

As for your tires, even if they seem to be in good condition, it doesn't hurt to check the air pressure. Extreme temperatures (like the cold of winter) can impact tire pressure, so it's smart to check this frequently during the winter and summer. Compare the current pressure with the optimal pressure for your tires and adjust as needed.

Under the Hood

Next, you'll want to take a peek under the hood. One thing you'll want to check for is bite marks. Yes, bite marks. Like us humans, animals seek shelter when it's cold out, and toasty engines are a popular hangout spot. Inspect the belts, hoses, cords, and other crucial components for holes, bite marks, and other critter-caused damage. In addition, look for debris, like leaves or leftover snacks from the aforementioned animal party.

You'll also want to check your fluids. This includes the engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid. All these fluids matter, but coolant is especially crucial for the scorching hot temperatures ahead. If fluid levels are low, get them changed.

Under the hood, you'll also find the battery. If you're the kind of collector that rarely takes their classic cars out on the road, it's very likely that their batteries are kaput. The easiest way to test if you have a bad battery is to attempt to start your car. If it dies immediately, you've got a bad battery. Other common signs that winter compromised your battery include a swollen battery, a foul-smelling battery, a broken radio, and a flashing CEL.

The Interior

Finally, slip into the driver's seat. Check for any interior leaks caused by cracked glass. Next, switch on the air conditioner. Can you feel cool, powerful bursts of air flooding in through the vents? Lastly, take a long, deep breath. How does your car smell? If it smells odd, it might be time to clean or swap out your car's air filter.

Go for a Test Drive

Our next tip for getting your classic car ready for summer is to take it on a test drive, assuming there are no obvious problems that need addressing. It doesn't have to be a long drive—a quick trip around the block is usually enough. During your test drive, take note of how your car feels and sounds. Can you easily maneuver the wheel? Can you start and stop smoothly? Do you hear any unusual sounds, like grinding, pinging, or squealing? If driving your car isn't as easy as you remember it being or your car is making a cacophony of interesting noises, there's a high chance there's a mechanical issue that needs fixing.

Clean and Wax Exterior

If your car is dusty, muddy, or otherwise dirty, take the time to give it a thorough clean. However, if your car has exterior flaws, like scratches, repair them prior to washing. Otherwise, you could worsen the damage and make it harder and costlier to fix.

So, what’s the best way to wash a classic car? You don't have to rule out the car wash as an option, but hand washing is a much safer option for these older cars.

To handwash your car, you need an abrasive-free cleaner and a non-abrasive cloth, like microfiber or sheepskin. Try to use water sparingly when washing your car, as exposure to moisture can lead to rusting. Dry your car with cloths as best as you can, and let it sweat the rest of the water off in a warm area. Clean the interior, too. Vacuums can help clean up the floor, and Q-tips are handy tools for tidying up the dash and vents.

Another thing you may want to consider is waxing your car. Wax doesn't just make your car look shiny and luxurious; it also protects your car from dirt, the sun, and rust. It’s a great investment if you want to keep your classic car safe from the summer heat.

Get It Show-Ready

Most car shows take place in the summer. If you plan to display your car during these shows, it doesn't hurt to start your preparations early. Getting any problems fixed and cleaning your car is a good start, but you can make sure you're extra prepared by gathering all the documents, props, and other items you need to create a display that will impress judges and attendees alike.

Now that the current cars in your collection are ready for the summer, you might be considering adding a few more to make this lively season even more exciting. If you're looking for a new classic car, Ideal Classic Cars is your number one place to find classic cars online in the USA. Come and see what's in our fleet today to find classic cars you'll love!

Tips for Getting Your Classic Car Ready for Summer